I go back and forth about how much to stress ease in the kitchen. This is so easy! This is so fast! You'll never believe it! No excuse not to cook it yourself it's so fast and easy! And the exact opposite: Forget about ease, forget about how long it takes, that shouldn't be the point!
The point is living well, working well, supporting, encouraging and lifting up your family and friends. One of the main daily ways we fulfill all of these things is by cooking and eating well. Why don't more people understand this? It's so important, we shouldn't care how long cooking takes or how difficult or easy it is. We should make the time. (The truth is, the longer we spend cooking, the better off we are.)
On the other hand, most of cooking really is easy and it can be as fast or as slow as you want it to be. Ceviche is a great example of how simple "cooking" can be, and it's also a preparation that tends to surprise people. "I can't believe how good this is—that's all you do?!" is a typical response when you show people how to make ceviche.
Ceviche is simply sliced or diced fish that's tossed with lime juice (which cures it) and aromats (which flavor it). The preparation is said to have originated in South America, but it's likely ancient and has always been prepared, especially where limes grow. Red snapper is one of the most common types of fish to use; I also like grouper, which has a great bite. It's very soft, so serve it with something crunchy, like fried tortillas or crispy flatbread.
One of the important points ceviche shows about fish generally is that cooking is what makes fish "fishy." I don't really like cooked fish, but I love raw and cured fish. High heat tends to bring out and somehow change the oils in fish that make it taste fishy. Which is why I love preparations like this. This takes about five minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to gather the rest of what every you're serving while the flesh transforms from pale and translucent to white and opaque. Make as much or as little as you wish. I find that a half cup of lime juice per pound of fish is a good ratio. Flavor it as you wish. I love how the acid transforms the onion so I always include that. If the blood line, the darker flesh running along the center of the fish, is particularly dark, you can trim that out if you wish. Ceviche needs at least 10 minutes to cure, but will be good for four to six hours after the lime juice is added.
Red Snapper Ceviche with Jalapeno and Red Onion
¼ cup shaved red onion
½ cup lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded, small diced or thinly sliced
2 tablespoons small diced red bell pepper or red chilli
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
Toss the snapper, onion and lime juice together and let it sit for at least ten minutes and up to six hours. Before serving, add the peppers, season to taste with fine sea salt, and garnish with sliced or torn cilantro leaves.
I serve this in small portions, and figure ¼ pound per person.