Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Almost Ceviche

My mouth learned the pleasure of ceviche thirty years ago on a sailboat in Grand Cayman. One of the crew dove for conch, cleaned it and fixed ceviche while we snorkeled. Inedible conch bits were dropped overboard to be cleaned up by the stingrays and eagle rays circling the boat. We swam with the rays, flying underwater as long as our lungs held out. To this day I feel the lift of flying when I eat ceviche.

This recipe is a riff on ceviche, a lightly cooked version, vegetables warm but not soft. Good hot or cold. If you don't like squid, try another kind of seafood. Shrimp and scallops are my other favorites (adjust cooking time as needed).

Low-cal and healthy, easy, fast, and inexpensive. Sounds like the cure for everything.

Here's the thing to remember and treasure from this post:

The Secret to Tender Squid:
Otherwise squid turns into an ivory version of rubber.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp oil
2 jalapenos, chopped (I include seeds, leave out if hot hurts)
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped (I used red but yellow is prettier)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
juice of 3 1/2 lemons -- more or less according to your taste
leaves from 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, or cilantro if you prefer
1 lb cleaned squid tubes, cut into rings (okay to use frozen & defrosted squid)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

Prepare everything before turning on the stove.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and salt and cook a minute
Add jalapenos, bell pepper and garlic, saute a minute or so, stirring.
Add tomatoes, and stir for a few minutes until juice releases
Add lemon juice, stir to combine.
Reduce heat, if needed, to keep mixture at a simmer.
Add squid and more salt to taste.
Cook 30-60 seconds. Squid will begin to turn opaque. Remove from fire. Squid will continue to firm from the heat of the sauce.

We enjoyed this over whole wheat orzo. And it was good cold the next day.

Enjoy your trip to the islands.

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