Not long ago I spent a few days in Barcelona. Although my work schedule was pretty hectic, we managed to squeeze in a memorable dinner at Cata 1.81 in Eixample. Great wine, countless miniature courses of delicious morsels, and effortlessly stylish surroundings that put to shame New York”?s wannabe Barcelonas [insert your favorite recently opened Lower East Side eatery here].
A great fast food solution in Barcelona was lunch at a humble Equadoran joint (c/ Calabria, near Gran Via, also in Eixample). They served wonderfully fresh avocado salads and ceviches. In fact, I”?m totally obsessed with ceviches. The perfect summer food, they are a staple at Ecuadoran and Peruvian restaurants. My last week in New York was devoted to eating food I’ll miss the most, so one of my last meals there naturally involved a Peruvian salmon ceviche.
Peruvian food belongs among my all-time favorite cuisines, but I”?m not counting on finding too many Peruvian restaurants in Northern Europe. Hence, I”?m seriously contemplating buying this cookbook. When leaving New York a month ago, my bags were bursting with pisco, ají amarillo, mote blanco, and maiz de tostar from the Trade Fair supermarkets in Queens. Luckily, a lovely check-in guy at JFK waived the excess weight charges (30kg/ 66lbs “? a fortune) when he realized how terribly I will miss all the great food I used to be able to get so easily in Astoria and Jackson Heights. (Now that I read about the week-long ConEd power failure that affected one of my favorite haunts in NYC, I’m of course totally horrified, but also smugly happy that I barely managed to escape).
Let’s hope the power stays on as I make this batch! A ceviche involves raw fish or shellfish chemically “cooked” by citric acid. I keep it in the fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours. Ceviche is usually served on a leaf on lettuce, with a cold sweet potato and an ear of corn (or a few tasty, oversize kernels). A few weeks ago I prepared a shortcut version of all this to my husband and a friend “? tasty, light, wonderful, highly recommended. Yesterday, I had another ceviche for lunch at work. Somehow I managed to spill ceviche juices all over the place during my bike ride to work, so I smelled strongly of fish for the rest of the day.
1 lb white-fleshed fish (eg, sea bass fillets)
juice of 2-3 limes
juice of 2-3 lemons
2 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1/4 dl white wine vinegar
1-2 onions, sliced very thin
1 red or yellow hot pepper, deveined, deseeded, and slivered
fresh cilantro by the handful
Cut the fish into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Pile onions on top of it, and pour citrus juice all over it. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Let rest about 6 hours in refrigerator.
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
1 medium-large sweet potato
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
Heat oven to 200 C (425 F). Halve the potato lengthwise, then cut each half into 7 slices. Place them on a baking dish, toss with oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Flip the potatoes over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until tender.
Everyday Corn on the Cob
Wrap one ear of corn in parchment paper (the husks can stay on), microwave high for 3 minutes (5 minutes if you make two at the same time). Peel, serve hot with a knob of butter.