Something Fishy

Story and photos by Brandon MatzekWhether you're looking for a quick appetizer for your summer kick-off or a simple meal during the workweek, these no-cook Ceviche Tostadas with Cilantro Cream are a must-have in your warm-weather repertoire.

Tender chunks of lime-marinated white ?sh are tossed with a fresh mix of onion, jalapeño, tomato and cilantro, then piled high atop a cilantro cream-slathered tostada. The ?sh is "cooked" in the acid of the lime juice-no heat needed.

Packed with bold, satisfying ?avor, these ceviche tostadas are the epitome of freshness. I just love the contrast of the bright ceviche and the sweet, crunchy tostadas. The key to a delicious ceviche is the ingredients. Be sure to purchase the freshest white fish you can find and afford. Also, avoid bottled lime juice, dried cilantro and unripe produce. Your tomato should be soft to the touch without any cracks, bruises or blemishes.

If you are preparing this ceviche for a party, I would recommend marinating and draining the fish the morning of the event (see details in recipe to to right). Cover and refrigerate until one hour before the party. Flavor the ceviche, then return to the refrigerator until guests arrive.

Serve the ceviche in a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice (to keep the fish chilled). Have the tostadas, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado and cilantro cream nearby, so guests can easily build their own appetizers. For a large party, consider serving this ceviche with tortilla chips instead.

Ceviche tostadas with cilantro cream
Serves 6 - 8 as an appetizer

Ingredients for the ceviche:
1 pound skinless white fish (halibut, tilapia,
   white?sh, snapper and bass are good options),
   cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small white onion, chopped into
1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
   (from about 12 limes)
1 large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded
   and finely chopped
1 ripe, fat tomato, cored, seeded
   and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves,   
   chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt

Ingredients for the cilantro cream:
3 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed
   lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
Tostadas
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
Chopped cilantro

 

Process
"Cook" the fish. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine fish, chopped onions and lime juice. If the lime juice doesn't cover the fish, you may need to squeeze in a little more. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until fish reaches the desired doneness (about 1 hour for medium-rare). Pour mixture through a medium-mesh strainer to drain all of the lime juice. Transfer cooked fish and onions back to the bowl and discard lime juice.

Flavor the ceviche.
To the ?sh mixture, add jalapeño, tomato, 1/4
cup cilantro and olive oil, stirring to combine. Add sugar, then
season to taste with kosher salt (I added just under 1 teaspoon).
Refrigerate until ready to use (no longer than 2 hours).

Prepare cilantro cream.
Combine cilantro leaves, lime juice and mayonnaise in a food processor and puree until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.

Serve. Spread a thin layer of cilantro cream on each tostada. Top with ceviche, a slice or two of avocado, and a scattering of chopped cilantro.

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