Tag Archives: herbs

Tuna Ceviche with Fresh Herbs, Candied Ginger and Summer Peaches

3 Aug

Summer is the perfect time for ceviche. It’s a light, nutritious  dish with lots of flavor. And, it’s beyond easy to make.

Ceviche is fish or shellfish that’s been marinated in a citrus-based mixture. Lemons and limes are the most commonly used fruits, but if you look you can find recipes that incorporate oranges or grapefruits. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid in the fruits causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which pickles or “cooks” the fish completely–without heat. How fun is that.

Start with a fresh piece of good quality fish–this isn’t the time to use something from the freezer since the extra moisture will interfere with the cooking process. For this recipe I used two Ahi tuna steaks.

Tuna Ceviche

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ahi Tuna Steaks
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 limes (set one aside for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons of Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Mirin (this is a sweet Japanese cooking wine vinegar made from Sake–you should be able to find it in your neighborhood grocery store)
  • 2 tablespoons of Hot Oil
  • 1/3 cup of peanuts
  • Candied Ginger (also known as crystalized ginger–you should be able to find it in your grocery store, too. Look in the baking aisle.)
  • 2 just-ripe peaches
  • Basil leaves
  • Chives
  • Mint leaves
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. To prepare the marinade, start by placing your two tuna steaks into a baking dish.
  2. Add sesame oil, mirin, and hot oil to the dish–flip the tuna steaks so that the liquid can coat each side.
  3. Slice 3 lemons and 3 limes in half and squeeze them over the tuna (set one lime aside for garnish). You’ll see the steak turn color slightly when it’s hit by the acid in the lemon and lime juice–what you are seeing is the cooking process begin.  Don’t throw the fruits away–the oils in the lemon and limes’ skin will add lots of flavor to the marinade.
  4. Roughly chop up the peanuts and sprinkle over the steaks.

    If you look closely at the steaks, you can see whitish spots where the citric acid has already begun cooking the meat.

  5. Flip the steaks over a couple of times so that each side is doused in the marinade. Then, transfer everything in the baking dish into a large gallon-sized ziplock bag. This should allow the steaks to be submerged in the marinade, so that the meat will undergo the citric acid cooking process.

    Inside the ziplock, the tuna steaks should be partially submerged in the marinade.

  6. Let the tuna marinate until the surface of the meat changes colors completely–this means the cooking process is complete. The time required will vary on the size and thickness of the seafood you’re using. Traditional style ceviche is usually marinated for about 3 hours. But, the longer you leave the meat in the marinade the more it will break down, so you want to take it out before it completely mushifies.  Yes, that is a technical term. For example, small scallops (or if you cut the tuna steak into chunks) will cook faster than one giant steak, since the small pieces have more surface area for the citric acid to penetrate.
  7. While you’re waiting for the tuna to cook, de-skin your peach and cut it into bite sized pieces. You want to use a just-ripe peach that will hold it’s shape after you cut it, not turn to mush. Take out your fresh herbs and do a rough chop for them as well as your candided ginger.
  8. When the cooking process is complete, take your steaks out of the ziplock and roughly cut into bite sized pices. Put the pieces into a mixing dish, add your cut up peaches, chopped herbs and candied ginger, and toss.

    Yum! The herbs add lots of freshness, the peaches add some sweetness, and the candied ginger is the secret ingredient that adds a bit of spiciness.

  9. To present the ceviche, I like to spoon it into little pudding dishes–makes a great side or appetizer.
  10. Slice the remaining lime into wedges. Garnish each dish by placing a lime wedge on the rim.

    This recipe makes 6 appetizer-sized dishes.

    Prepared ceviche-style the tuna will be tender and flavorfull. So yummy! Enjoy!

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Roasted Vegetables from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market

24 Jul

I’m back in the Twin Cities for the weekend and I brought my A-Game.

We started the day with brunch at  Meritage (check out the review)–their Eggs Benedict is for those who do not mess around. Then, after fueling up on hollandaise (the true breakfast of champs) we headed over to the  St. Paul Farmer’s Market.

The market isn’t large, but it has nearly everything you’d be looking for at fantastic prices–fresh fruits and veggies, breads and pastries, meats (cured, smoked, and fresh), cheeses, flowers, plants and herbs, honey, some handmade crafts, soaps and clothes, and more.  Most importantly, it has in abundance what makes a farmer’s market fun to visit: that great sense of community. It’s so rewarding to support local farms and families and know that the food you’re getting is really as fresh as it comes.

Here’s the breakdown:

I was surprised by the selection of potted flowers and plants. These annuals were $2 for one, $11 for 6, or $18 for a dozen.

Great for the garden.

I wanted to take home this lavender plant–it smelled heavenly.

There were also lots of lovely, reasonably priced flower bouquets for $5–quite a deal. But, if you want to beat that price, do your shopping at the farmer’s market at the end of the day–then, they’re an even better deal at $3-$4.  When you’re selecting your bouquet, look for a bunch that has lots of unopened buds in it. That way, you’ll get the most mileage for your flower money.

Great deal.

We decided to make some roasted vegetables for dinner, so we started collecting ingredients, beginning with eggplant, $3 for a carton of 4.

Next we picked up some carrots, a bunch cost $3:

Beets were next on the list. They’re delicious when roasted because their natural sweetness becomes caramelized. We found some yellow and red ones, $3 bought a bunch.

When you're looking for beets, get a bunch that are smaller in size--they'll be sweeter!

We picked up some yellow and purple onions, and then discovered some unusual, multi-colored Swiss Chard in red, purple, and yellow. I had never come across these before–I’m wondering if they’re sweeter than the standard variety–has anyone used them in a recipe? If so, I’d love to get some tips! Though they didn’t make it into our pot of roasted vegetables, I picked some up to experiment with later. Aren’t they pretty?
While we browsed around, we came across a couple of stands with some great samples. The one that stands out in my mind was the River Chocolate Company, which had some of the best caramel sauce I’ve ever tasted:

Dangerously good!

If you get a chance to go to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, be sure to check them out! I really regret not buying a bottle. The flaw in my thinking was that the caramel sauce would counteract the healthy veggie dinner we had planned. But, I realize now that I failed to remember the nutritional value of caramel sauce…when you eat it with a sliced apple…or a bag of fiber-fortified pretzels…or a spoon…   Well, I’ll just have to make it my excuse to come back soon.

It’s now a few hours later and our roasted veggies are looking great. With a piece of fish or a marinated steak they’ll make a fantastic meal that’s fairly inexpensive–we got all these vegetables for less than $20. Plus, it’s so easy and quick to prepare. Just wash the vegetables, halve or quarter them (I like these larger pieces–they’re more “rustic,” as my inner foodie snob would say!), throw the whole batch into a big roasting pan, and drizzle with olive oil. If you like, you can throw in some garlic cloves and herbs, like rosemary, maybe. But, I have to say, the flavor of the roasted veggies–especially when they’re fresh from the farm–is so incredible that all you need is some salt and pepper.

Enjoy!