What’s the best way to consume olive oil? According to Nancy Harmon Jenkins, author of Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil, it’s a simple roasted potato. She says that a roasted potato, slathered with the best quality olive oil you can afford and sprinkled with sea salt is hard to beat, but her new book is full of enticing recipes like this one for olive oil drenched Ceviche.
Marinated Raw Fish Fillets
Makes 8 servings as a first course
All fish, obviously, should be as fresh as you can find it, but it’s even more important with ceviche, which is a way of “cooking” fish simply by marinating it in citrus juice. This is an old Mediterranean way of preserving fish for a short period of time; the technique arrived in Latin America with the Spanish incursions and was transformed, deliciously, by the addition of chopped fresh cilantro, tomatoes, and green chile peppers.
Note that this is also a splendid way to treat very fresh wild shrimp or scallops. Just be absolutely certain that the scallops have not been treated with phosphates to plump them and, not incidentally, increase their weight. It will leak into any preparation to which they are added. Always ask for “dry,” meaning un-treated, scallops.
Serve this as a first course with a small green salad or with avocado slices dressed with oil and lemon. Made the day before, it also makes a great Saturday lunch, perhaps after a morning at the beach or on a hiking trail.
1½ pounds fresh fish fillets
1 cup combined citrus juices— lemon and lime; lemon, lime, and grapefruit; lime and orange; or lime and bitter (sour) orange
¾ cup fruity, not bitter, olive oil
¹⁄³ cup finely chopped cilantro
1 small red onion, minced
1 ripe red tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 small fresh jalapeño or serrano chile peppers, seeded and minced
Lemon wedges, for serving
COVER the fish fillets with the citrus juice in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
DRAIN the fish and arrange on a serving platter. Mix together the oil, cilantro, onion, tomato, and chiles and spoon over the fi sh. Cover once more and set aside until ready to serve. (If it’s very warm weather, refrigerate the fish; otherwise, cool room temperature is fi ne for an hour or so.) Before serving, taste a small piece of fi sh. You probably will not need to add more acid since the citrus flavors will have penetrated the fish, but serve it with lemon wedges (or limes) in case someone wants to add more.
Note: No salt is added to prevent too much liquid from leaching out of the fish.
Excerpted from Virgin Territory, © 2015 by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.
Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.