My neighbor Alma sent her son across the way with a container of her ceviche, a bag of tostadas, and a bottle of Tapatio sauce for us to eat while we pack. She had made a big batch for a July 4th picnic she and her family went to at a park in Antioch. We ate it from plates on our laps, stopping for a few minutes from the ceaseless rush of last minute tasks to what may have been the perfect meal for the occasion.
It was bright and tangy and chewy and soft and crisp and spicy. It was, of course, cold, which is ideal for a hot July afternoon. It had a couple of tantalizing notes of flavor that didn’t immediately come forward and introduce themselves, but just a hint of intrigue to keep the tongue guessing. The crispy tostadas and hot sauce made it a completely balanced in flavor and texture.
The other thing that I really noticed was the careful attention to preparation which made each element become a part of the whole dish without either dominating the flavor of the whole or disappearing into a mush. The onion was minced just so, the tomato was diced large enough to give a distinct sweet flavor, and the cilantro leaves were beautifully ribboned into the whole, bright green and fresh. It was a carefully made dish, the ability of the cook apparent in the beautiful balance of flavor and texture.
When I went to thank her, Alma told me how she makes her ceviche and said she’d write the recipe down for me. I hope I have time to get it before I leave; I know Scott would love to have it again. He ate four tostadas with a teetering mound of ceviche on each for lunch and asked me to get the recipe at least that many times. It was a kind and thoughtful parting gift. Thanks, Alma.
6 tilapia filets minced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 large red onion, minced small
1 jalapeno pepper, minced small
about 1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
juice of 2-3 lemons
Goya Adobo with Bitter Orange seasoning to taste
Mix everything together once everything is prepped. I lightly covered the top of the bowl with the seasoning, mixed it in, and then tasted and added a little more just before serving. After everything is mixed, allow it to sit for at least 1/2 hour until the fish looks white and opaque- which means it is “cooked”. Serve on tostadas with Tapatio sauce.