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LUDO BITES AMERICA – Ceviche

Watch LUDO BITES AMERICA Tuesdays at 9P

More masterful cooking from our guest blogger Justin, who, along with his wife, Lori, writes the food blog The Gastronomic Duo, a blog dedicated to couples cooking together in the kitchen and enjoying food with one another in their home.

I’m going to be straightforward here. I think ceviche is best served as the rustic and simple dish that it historically is: a poor man’s meal conceived as a way to get rid of fish and reduce waste on its last palatable day via light pickling. I’m also going to say that when done right, it’s a total delight. That’s why this SUNfiltered post is so exciting to me. When I read the recipe, I wanted to transport myself immediately to my Minneapolis kitchen and try it. I thought, “Wow, this is ceviche taken to the next level.” Milk granita, cucumber water and blackberries. I was delighted to give this recipe a shot. Maybe it would change my viewpoint on ceviche forever.

Briefly, we should discuss what ceviche is. What’s going on with this stuff? Is it raw? Is it cooked? The answer, it’s neither. Or maybe a bit of both. Technically speaking, it’s enzymatically cooked via osmosis, which means it’s not cooked by heat but rather through its contact with acid, giving it a cooked texture because it’s been changed on a molecular level. But who cares if it’s cooked or not? It’s badass and you should make it.

We truly love an unconventional approach to a classic dish, but not everything in this recipe was available to us. We landlocked folk often have to swap out fish in recipes. No Dorade available? No worries. Bronzini works, too. As long as you keep the fish light in color and texture and you’ll be just fine when creating a ceviche.

If you can’t find all of the necessary ingredients, remember this is cooking (even though there is no actual cooking with fire). Replace, remove or adapt to your specific tastes or availabilities. There would be no purslane in our photo had I not discovered a small patch growing in our yard (kismet). That doesn’t mean you can’t lose the ingredient altogether or find another raw green with a tinge of bitterness (i.e., arugula or watercress).

There’s little else to remember when making a successful ceviche and this one is deceptively simple, despite the complex recipe. Yes, there might be a lot of steps, but none of them will keep you up late or add undue stress. It’s simple. It’s not rustic. Impress your date or some friends and add a splash of class with ceviche, at least this once.

Stay classy, ceviche.

INGREDIENTS

6 slices dorade ceviche

100 ml cucumber water

½ tbs Granny Smith apple (small dice)

½ tbs celery stalk (small dice)

½ tbs pickled red onion

3 halved blackberries

1 tbs milk granita

purslane

Place ceviche into a small bowl. Cover with cucumber water. Spread apples, celery, and blackberry halves around evenly on top of ceviche. Place the granita in the middle and top it off with pickled red onion. Garnish with purslane leaves.

Ceviche (dorade)

1 dorade filet (boned, skinned, and bloodline removed)

Juice from 6 limes

1 tsp kosher salt

Place lime juice in a non-reactive bowl with the salt and stir until salt is dissolved. Slice dorade on the bias 4 mm thick and place into the lime juice marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1½ hours.

Cucumber Water

2 cucumbers (juiced with the skin on)

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp xanthan gum

Place juice in a blender with salt and vinegar. As you start the blender, dust in the xanthan gum. Mix until dissolved. Set aside, covered, in the refrigerator.

Milk Granita

1 L milk

1 L heavy cream

Stir milk and cream together with a spatula in a bowl. Place into a flat ½ 200 hotel pan and freeze. Scrape with a fork lengthwise to get shavings of milk.

Pickled Red Onions

1 red onion, julienned

1 L red wine vinegar

250 ml water

1 tbs sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

Blanch red onions in lightly salted water for 15 seconds. Shock red onions in ice water. Take out of ice water and set aside to drain on a paper towel. In a sauce pot add vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer until the dry ingredients are melted.

Place onions in a non reactive bowl with warm pickle juice. Place uncovered in the refrigerator until very cold. When the red onions look very pink out of the pickle juice they are thoroughly pickled.

Hungry for more? Tune in for a cross-country road trip with celebrity Chef Ludo Lefebvre as he reinvents American cuisine. LUDO BITES AMERICA airs Tuesdays at 9p on Sundance Channel.

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