Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bonus Post: Ceviche Costa Rica Style

My hands smell like limes, and I don't have a cocktail in front of me. Astute observers might conclude that I've been making something else with lime juice. And, it's true. I've been making ceviche, but if you're used to having ceviche at your local tex-mex place, you might be a little cautious when you see mine.
Ceviche, Costa Rica Style
1 lb bay scallops (sea scallops work, too, but are more expensive, and
need to be cut into bite-sized bits)
4 limes
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 red onion (or, you know, any other onion you have around)
1-2 glugs olive oil
saltine crackers

Place scallops in a clean, non-reactive bowl or jar. Cover with the juice of 4 limes -- the scallops need to be covered in the juice. Add cilantro and onion, both finely chopped, salt, and olive oil. Let marinate in the fridge overnight -- it helps to put plastic wrap over the bowl, letting the plastic rest on the surface of the ceviche to make sure there's no air getting in. Serve on crackers, garnished with a mixture of mayo and ketchup.
I say the recipe is mine; it's not. It's really my dad's (that's him in the picture above..handsome devil, no?). See, way back in the 80s, Dad went on sabbatical to Costa Rica, and he ambitiously took my sister and I along. I look back at that and have to realize: I am now two (nearly three) years older now than my dad was when we went. It is a weird feeling. Anyway, long digression short, my grandma came down to stay with us for several months, and with the anniversary of her death this month, I'm all sorts of nostalgic for all things family.

Back to the fish. My dad fell in love with ceviche down there, and when we got back to the States, he worked and worked to recreate it. He had the darnedest time finding cilantro (this was Oregon, in the early/mid-80s, after all), and no one had heard of ceviche. He prevailed, and this is how I know ceviche.

Dad and I would stand around the kitchen counter, spooning the fish out of a tall jar onto a saltine, and then dolloping on a ketchup/mayo sauce (mix 1 part to 1 part).

I know that sounds strange. I know that we're conditioned now to think only of tortilla chips and maybe some salsa when eating ceviche.

The saltines and Marie Rose are authentically 1984 Costa Rica. I will vouch for it. Give it a try. Throw caution cautiously to the wind. If you end up hating it -- and I've never met anyone who does -- you can always rip open a bag of Tostitos and uncap a jar of Jardine's.

I've got a bowl of ceviche tucked into the fridge, and tomorrow evening, I'll be eating it with friends.

Costa Rica style.

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