Love at First Bite
I love honeymoons and have been on three. The first was at the Las Brisas in Acapulco, Mexico, where more than 200 bungalows are hidden on a hillside among 40 lush hibiscus gardens with a breathtaking view of Acapulco Bay.
Occasionally, when we honeymooners would come up for air, we’d explore in a pink and white jeep, hang from parachutes behind a speed boat, watch high divers risk their lives daily jumping from a cliff and, most importantly while honeymooning, refuel our bodies with local cuisine.
Our first night out, I ordered my favorite fish, red snapper, and when the waiter placed an entire bugged-eyed fish before me, I let out a faint cry. To the embarrassment of my new hubby, I waved the dish back into the kitchen for proper dissecting while exclaiming, “Don’t they know that fish rots from the head down?”
El Mole, a mixture of cocoa with strong chili, is still my favorite Mexican sauce; and, my favorite entrée is el guajalote con mole poblano … a truly sumptuous dish whose preparation lasts no less than three days and is composed of turkey, different types of peppers, garlic, spices, raisins and, of course, cocoa.
One late morning, while sunning on the Morning Beach at the La Concha Beach Club, the waiter suggested we order a coco fizz and try the ceviche before siesta time. It was love at first bite and the taste never forgotten.
Yes, there are as many varieties of ceviche as people who eat it; however, the following recipe is the one we tipped the waiter to bring to us from the kitchen. He conveyed that the chef said, “This recipe dates back to the 1300s and is of Aztec origin.”
Did the waiter make up the story to earn a nice tip or is it the real McCoy? I don’t know but it is ever so good; and, for people who simply cannot leave a good thing alone, it is a wonderful starting point for experimentation.
Old World Ceviche
1/2 pound whitefish (halibut/bass fillets or red snapper)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 hot pepper, chopped
1/2 cup vinegar
1/8 cup cooking oil
*Cover fish with lemon juice and refrigerate for an hour.
Mix onion, tomato and peppers and set aside. Combine vinegar, oil and oregano; heat for about 5 minutes to blend flavors. Cool.
After fish has set for an hour, thoroughly drain off all lemon juice, squeezing gently. Keep the fish in nice pieces. Blend in sauce mixture with chopped vegetables and fish.
Chill and serve with raw onions and toasted tortillas. Serves 4.
* For a more opaque color, refrigerate overnight. Add the other ingredients before serving.
** To satisfy young taste buds, make ketchup available.
Leba also writes the “Upon Reflection” column that runs bi-monthly in the Banner’s Sunday edition. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.