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21st August 2009
Ceviche
Rachel has been demanding ceviche "like her Mother(-in-law) used to make" for ages now, unfortunately the ceviche her Mother-in-law used to make was apparently shredded with a fork before being soaked in lime juice, which is a bit hard on any less-than-stridently flavoured fish, and tends to turn my face inside out. Rachel says they used to mix in grated carrot, coriander and possibly onion, leave it overnight, then squeeze out the lime from the fish by hand, which might help I guess (though the implication is - you need to make handfuls). This was then served with onion and chopped tomatoes on tostadas.

Apparently Mexicans prefer "fatty" seafood, such as mackerel and pompano, though I've also seen plenty of recipes using red snapper

The Starbucks where I buy coffee. every. day. has a Borders bookshop around it, and since they have strategically placed their bargain cookbook island between the entrance and the coffee, I am forced to examine their latest cheap(ish) cook book offers. every. day.
Today's book has a ceviche recipe so I decided to give it a bash for tonight's offering, and also, rather foolishly, decided to scrape the lemon sole off its skin with a fork rather than slice it into strips for the marinading.
Lemon Sole Ceviche
starter raw fish
Ingredients
400g lemon sole fillets
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely diced
juice of 4 limes
1 small chicory bulb, quartered lengthways and cut into 1cm strips
2 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado
3 Tbsp chopped coriander leaves
100ml extra virgin olive oil
salt
Method
Scrape the lemon sole from its skin with a fork (the original recipe calls for skinning the fillets then cutting into 5mm strips) and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with the diced chillies and pour over the lime juice. Toss to coat, then cover and leave in a cool place to marinate for 15 minutes. (The acid from the lime will cure the fish and turn it opaque.) If you prefer your fish 'cooked' a little more, leave it a bit longer.

Drain the fish of the lime juice and toss with the chicory, onion, tomatoes and green pepper. Halve, stone, peel and dice the avocado. Add to the fish mixture with the chopped coriander, pour over th olive oil and toss well. Leave to stand in a cool place for 10 minutes.

Season the ceviche well with salt and spoon into the centre of coool serving plates. Drizzle any remaining dressing around the plates. Serve immediately, as a starter.
OK, so the ceviche was mouth-twistingly misjudged, with the lime hopelessly overwhelming the poor delicate lemon sole but the salad was still surprisingly dull.
You can liven it up a little by dressing it with the tarragon vinaigrette, which helps some.

Rocket or Watercress Salad
salad raw veg vegan
Ingredients
Rocket and spinach or watercress or other leaves

Tarragon Vinaigrette
Juice of ½ lemon
120ml white wine vinegar or maybe a bit less
salt and pepper
pinch of caster sugar
500ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 tarragon sprigs or more
Method
Make the vinaigrette - blend the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and a few tarragon leaves, pour in the olive oil slowly whilst blending.
Store in a jar with a few extra tarragon sprigs.

Dress the salad and serve.

Squid Tempura
starter main fish

Ingredients
500g fresh baby squid
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
groundnut oil for deep-frying
flour for dusting
lemon juice to taste

Batter
45g plain flour
30g cornflour
15g baking powder
125ml sparkling water, chilled
4 ice cubes

Minted Mayonnaise
150ml mayonnaise
15g mint leaves, chopped
pinch of cayenne pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
Tablespoon crème fraîche (optional)
Method
First prepare the mayonnaise (you can do this the day before to allow the mayo to take on more of the mint flavour if you like). Mix the chopped mint into the mayonnaise and add salt, cayenne pepper and a little lemon juice to taste.
I substituted a minted hollandaise.
But a wasabi mayonnaise - just generous wasabi paste, mayonnaise and some crème fraîche is lovely.
Clean the squid, rinse well under cold running water,separate the tentacles. Cut the pouches into 1cm thick rings, pat dry on kitchen paper and set aside with the tentacles.

For the batter, combine the flour, cornflour and baking powder in a bowl and add a pinch each of salt and cayenne pepper. Slowly add the sparkling water, mixing the batter with a spoon or chopstick. Don't worry if there are a few lumps - this is normal for tempura batter. Finally add the ice cubes and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

When you are ready to eat the squid, dress some rocket leaves with a tarragon vinaigrette.

In a suitable pan for deep-frying, heat the oil to about 180°C. Dust a handful of squid with seasoned flour, dip into the batter to coat, then immerse in the hot oil. Fry until the pieces rise to the surface and float, indicating that they are ready - this only takes a minute or two. Don't overcook the squid otherwise it will be tough and rubbery. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat until all the squid is cooked.

Make up the hollandaise. Season the squid with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the hollandaise (or serve with minted mayonnaise alongside). Garnish with the rocket salad.
Much more of a success. The original recipe called for mint mayonnaise, and although my hollandaise was nice, I think the thicker mayonnaise might have worked better.
The squid was lovely and tender, though the tempura might have been crisper.

Monkfish Ceviche
starter raw fish
Ingredients
Prepare the Monkfish as for the Lemon Sole Ceviche.
I served it with the Fennel Salad and its Blue Cheese Dressing below.
Nope. Not good. The monkfish goes rather chewy, and the flavour is a bit dull.
Rachel thought the blue cheese dressing rather overwhelmed the Fennel salad. She might be right.
Must try cooked monkfish with that dressing.
Yeah that works, monkfish and blue cheese dressing are nice together, but I pan-fried the monkfish rolled in flour, and it was still rather chewy. I wonder if it might not be better grilled (or roasted) with a blue cheese stuffing?

Fennel Salad
salad raw veg
Ingredients
Fennel, thinly sliced
Carrots, thinly sliced or grated.
Red onion, thinly sliced.
Physalis, sliced.
Coriander leaves
Capers
Red chillies, sliced as a garnish
Pine nuts or walnuts might have worked

Blue Cheese Dressing
Shropshire Blue cheese (Roquefort was better)
Lime juice (still prefer lemon)
Tarragon


Method
Dress the salad with olive oil, a splash of sesame oil, and a drizzle of lime juice.
Muh. S'OK. Wouldn't go out of my way to make it again.

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