The Spice is Right: Salmon Ceviche
For the past three months we’ve had a hankering in the worst way to participate in Barbara’s The Spice is Right over at Tigers and Strawberries, and for the past three months, our cooking schedule (such as it is) has failed us. But not this time! Not when chiles are on the menu and Chopper’s in the kitchen.
This month’s theme, It’s Too Darned Hot, brings to mind a myriad of tongue-burning dishes, but our inspiration comes from the cold waters of the North. Copper River, Alaska, to be exact, and that slab of salmon at the local market that was just too darned good of a deal to pass up.
But what to make with salmon and chiles — especially when the goal is to feature the chiles? Something cold for our hot summer weather, perhaps? Something with an extra chile kick to make cooling off all the better?
Ah, that’s it. Skip the oven altogether and make ceviche.
We had fun with this one, from adding grapefruit to the traditional citrus marinade, to finding just the right serving glass from our ramshackle glass collection, to a bit of kitchen hypothesizing on the origins of ceviche. (Our wild guess: Peruvian fishermen, carrying citrus on their boats to ward off scurvy said, hey, if you squeeze this lemon all over this raw fish and wait a bit, not only will it taste good, but you won’t get sick! Of course, years later, someone figured out the science of that whole acid-cooking thing and now everyone embraces ceviche. Or at least everyone who doesn’t still panic at the sight of seafood that hasn’t touched an oven or a frying pan. Silly people.)
I note in passing that I said “skip the oven” above, and in the recipe below, Chopper refers to rosting chiles under an open flame or a broiler, and we did indeed use the broiler. What I meant to say was “You should skip the oven because your broiler will have a complete meltdown during the chile-roasting process,” but that would be guidelines that only apply to our kitchen. Silly broiler.
- 1.5 pounds fresh Copper River sockeye salmon
- 9 poblanos
- 6 red jalapeños
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced small
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced small
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced
- 1 large pink grapefruit, juiced
- 1 navel orange, juiced
- 2 large lemons, juiced
- Roast one of the poblanos and all of the jalapeños over an open flame or under a broiler until skin is blackened. Then place in a small bowl and cover with plastic. Allow to sit for five minutes, then peel, remove the seeds, and dice.
- Cut salmon fillets into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a non-reactive bowl or pan.
- Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive container and marinate for at least 2 hours.
- Remove tops and seed pods from remaining poblanos and carefully place them in martini glasses.
- When ceviche is done marinating, place portions in each poblano and serve.
And, if you’ve bought big hunk of salmon with skin on like we did, you can dress up your dish with a few fried salmon skin crackers.
Ah, salmon and a chile kick. I think I can survive the summer heat with more meals like this!