Mango Watermelon Ceviche

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Ceviche is just one of those foods that is hard for those who’ve never made it to stomach.  To squeeze lime juice over raw fish and think it will be cooked without applying heat in some form may seem like a mind-blowing concept, but there is a solution for this reaction: make ceviche. You will see the fish “cook” before your eyes, becoming as opaque as if it had been pan-seared. You will become a believer.

The origins of ceviche (sometimes spelled cebiche or seviche) are unclear, but archaeological evidence points to an area in present-day Peru as the birthplace of this seafood dish. There are varieties of ceviche made across Central and South America. In some parts of Mexico, ceviche preparation is considered an art form. It’s popularity has risen in the United States, and as the recipe travels, each chef adds a dash of something new to their recipe.

I have tasted mediocre ceviche from restaurants and the grocery store, but an outstanding homemade ceviche bears little resemblance to commercially made products. I will wait humbly in line at the buffet table with tostada shell in hand waiting for a second helping of a delightful version of this fresh fish dish.

Ceviche can be made with almost any kind of fish or shellfish, but I have found tilapia to be a tender treat when prepared with the acidic juice of citrus. Adding the usual vegetables and then the surprising sweetness of spring fruits, including two varieties of mangos, gives this ceviche a flavor boost that is hard to pass up.

This recipe will make enough ceviche for a small gathering (4-6 people.) For a party, I would double or even triple the ingredients as it is a fresh-tasting treat that guests tend to return for numerous times.

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Ingredients:

6 tilapia fillets (previously frozen is best)

juice of 8 limes

juice of 2 lemons

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1 Roma or plum tomato, finely chopped

1 Persian cucumber, finely chopped

1 Ataulfo mango, pit and skin removed, finely cubed

1 jalapeño, finely chopped (and seeded if you want to lessen the heat – I leave the seeds in)

1/2 green mango, pit and skin removed, finely cubed

1/2 cup watermelon, seeded and finely cubed

1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

2 tbsp. spicy V-8 (optional

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

1 dash tamari (gluten-free) soy sauce

Tapatio or Cholula sauce for topping

tostadas for serving (2 -4 per person)

Instructions: 

1. Chop the tilapia into coarse, bite-sized pieces. Place the chopped fish in a large glass bowl or container.

2. Using a citrus juicer, squeeze the juice from the limes and lemons over the tilapia, stirring it to thoroughly mix the fish into the juice.

3. Add the soy sauce and spicy V-8 juice.

4. Add the chopped vegetables and cubed fruits.

5. Add the cumin and salt.

6. Refrigerate for at least one hour or longer to let the fish react to the acidic citrus juices. The reaction will happen much quicker, but just to be sure, wait, especially if making a large batch.

7. Serve the ceviche with tostadas caseras and plenty of chile sauce to sprinkle over the ceviche. Enjoy this fresh, low calorie dish as an appetizer or even an entree with added side dishes.

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