Ceviche w/ habanero and mint
Ceviche with beer is incredibly refreshing on a hot day. This recipe is easy and flexible. White-fleshed fish + citrus + spicy pepper + crisp vegetables + fresh herbs = ceviche. Habanero is an extremely spicy pepper that I happened to have in my fridge. Feel free to use half a pepper or to substitute a couple of jalepenos or serranos, which are much milder. Start by pulsing in two peppers, then mix into juice and add peppers to taste. But do use mint rather than the more traditional cilantro — it adds a wonderful cooling note that balances the peppers’ heat. Chilling the dishes is a nice touch.
Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a light main dish
.75 pound firm hake fillet, chopped in bite-size pieces (any firm white fish is a good sub)
1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped in large chunks
1 habanero pepper, washed, trimmed and sliced in half (wash your hands, knife and cutting board right away — this pepper is hot!)
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced in two or three chunks
.5 cup chopped fresh mint
salt + pepper
2 limes, rinsed
1 orange, rinsed
1T rice vinegar
1T brown sugar
a few cucumbers, peeled and sliced in thick coins (endive leaves are nice too — they form a scoop)
crackers or tortilla chips
Use a microplane to zest limes and orange into a large glass storage container (ideally, one with a plastic lid). Now slice fruit and squeeze juice into a large bowl. Use a handheld bar juicer to make sure you squeeze every last drop. Whisk in vinegar, brown sugar and a few turns of salt and pepper.
Pulse pepper and mint in a food processor. Add carrots and onion. Keep pulsing until mix is nicely chopped but not pulverized. Dump vegetables into container with juice (use a plastic tool to scrape remainder from food processor). Mix vegetables well and add fish. Now cover container and shake well.
Set ceviche to chill for about 1.5 hours, until fish turns opaque white.
Set cucumbers on a chilled plate and sprinkle with extra salt and lime juice. Serve in a chilled bowl with crackers and cucumbers.