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MARTIN
 

My host in Isabela didn't cook much more than me.  We bonded instantly.  We also ate out a lot together.  One day, I felt like I had to have ceviche.  It was such a miserably hot day and a cold dish sounded just like the right item to help cool things down.

It's my understanding that ceviche can have raw fish or cooked fish.  I have no idea if my fish was raw or cooked.  I do know that if I had my choice, I wouldn't eat anything raw.  Ceviche can have other sea food.  Best option in my mind is shrimp.  Worst option, never to be had again (Notice the word again.  I had it.) is pulpo.  Now, if you don't know what pulpo is, it sounds innocent enough.  But, if you do know what it is, and I do, there is nothing innocent about octopus.  If that isn't slippery and slimy enough, I'm fairly sure my octopus was raw.

I won't go into any details about the pain I went through after eating raw octopus.  My insides started to rumble and that's all the details you need to know.  However, octopus, raw or otherwise, is on my list of foods never to eat again.  I almost added ceviche to the list too.  However, I gave it another chance.  It really is good without octopus.

(Later, in talking to a friend who cooks much more than me, I learned about ceviche and raw fish.  It isn't heat cooked.  If you cut the fish in small pieces the lemon juice will acid cook the fish.  So, it really isn't raw.  Whew!)

Ceviche
Isabela, Galapagos Islands
Ceviche....
  2 pounds whitefish or tuna   2 medium onions very thinly sliced
  2 cups of juice from 6 limes, 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  3 lemons, 3 sour oranges 1 garlic clove, minced
  4 tsp salt pinch of cayenne pepper
  ¾ tsp black pepper   2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  ¼ cup vinegar   ....(coriander)
       

Take your fish (that is only going to be acid cooked) and cut it in to bite sized pieces.  Place it in a bowl and pour your combination of juices over it.  If, like me, you never heard of sour (or Seville) oranges, I'm sure it's fine to add more lemon juice. Next, add the salt, pepper and vinegar.  Toss it all in the refrigerator for six hours, leaving you lots of time to clean up in the kitchen.

Pour boiling water over the onions and then drain them.  Add the onions, tomato, garlic, cayenne pepper and cilantro to the fish mixture. Refrigerate everything over night.

Now, if you want to serve it with an Ecuadorian flare, place your bowl of ceviche on a plate and then scatter fried banana (actually plantain) chips around the rest of the plate.  It adds that extra wow effect.

Shrimp Ceviche
Isabela, Galapagos Islands
  2 pounds of shrimp 1 large, diced onion
  Juice from 10 lemons     1 tsp salt
  1 hot pepper, chopped          ½ cup olive oil
       

Place the raw shrimp in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Rejoice in the fact that it's going to be heat cooked as well as acid cooked.  Remove the shrimp from the boiling water and place in cold water immediately.  Now, it's time to remove the shells, clean the shrimp, and snack on as few of the shrimp as humanly possible.

In a glass bowl, place the shrimp, lemon juice, hot pepper, diced onion, salt and olive oil.  Marinate the mixture for eight hours. 

One recipe suggested adding about half a cup of mustard.  I'm including it as an option, but it's probably an option I'll never do.

Now, for the wow effect, again you need to scatter banana chips all over your plate.  But, you also really need to hang a few shrimp over the edge of the bowl. 

MARTIN
Copyright 2011 and 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.