Monday, May 23, 2011

Tilapia Ceviche and Low Fat Tortilla Chips

Tilapia is the go-to fish for my family. Its cheaper than others, freezes well, neutral taste (my mom doesn't like "fishy"), and is quite versatile!

I figured that since I've been showing nothing but baked goods lately, I might as well feature a couple savory recipes to keep you guys out of a sugar coma. :D

The first recipe I would like to show case is ceviche. My parents and I went to a restaurant a couple weeks ago called El Meson that serves interior Mexican food. As an appetizer, we got the fish ceviche which, at the time, I had never had before. The fact that the raw fish was primarily "cooked" in lime juice intrigued me, but nothing prepared me for the enormous amount of deliciousness I was about to consume.

Oh. My. God.

The bowl of ceviche came to our table filled with assorted vegetables and topped with freshly cut avocado. The fish was, of course, AH-mazing. I had to recreate this at home. HAD TO!

As soon as I could get my butt to the store I bought all of the ingredients needed to make it based on this recipes I found on Simple Recipes.

It suggested to let the fish sit in the marinade for a couple hours, but I chose to let it go overnight and I'm glad I did. It was practically bursting with flavor!
This recipe uses an even mix of lemon and lime juice to marinate the raw fish with tomato, red onion, a serrano chili, and seasonings. Then afterwards you top it off with avocado, olives (if you want), and cilantro. That's it! Simple ingredients that create something truly phenomenal.

Fish Ceviche
Adapted from Simple Recipes
2 lbs any firm-fleshed fish, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely deboned
1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cups of chopped fresh seeded tomatoes
1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
2 teaspoons of salt
Dash of ground oregano
Dash of Tabasco or a light pinch of cayenne pepper
Sliced black olives
Avocado (I used one medium sized avocado for one batch of ceviche)
Baked tortilla chips


In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Pour lime and lemon juice over mixture and gently mix. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices. Let sit overnight in the fridge.The fish should change from translucent to opaque during this time.

When ready to serve, add avocado, cilantro, and olives to mixture and gently mix so that the avocado is coated in the lemon/lime juice.

Serve with baked tortilla chips and dig in!

When I made this, I only used the original recipe's one cup of tomatoes, but I would increase it to 2 cups (as written in the above recipe) next time I make it (and there WILL BE a next time..)

I served the ceviche with baked tortilla chips and tortillas so we couple make tacos, but everyone agreed that the ceviche was much better transferred through chip form. Something about that combination of crunchy with zesty freshness was a real winner.
The tortilla chips were simply made by using Mission "extra thin" corn tortillas (extra thin=super crunchy)  that I cut into quarters. I sprayed them with an olive oil mister and seasoned them simply with kosher salt. Baked at 375 for about 10 minutes a side and you got yourself lower-fat tortilla chips perfect for ceviche dipping!
Uh yeah, we needed more chips. MUCH more. You honestly can't tell the difference between these and the fried variety!

It wasn't until a week or two later that I discovered a new trick for even lower fat tortilla chips! In fact NO added fat whatsoever!

I find that I can successfully make three tortillas worth of chips in one go in the microwave. All you do is place a paper towel on a large plate and arrange your quartered slices of corn tortillas evenly so that there is no overlap. Top liberally with salt or whatever seasonings you prefer and then cover with another set of paper towels. Yes, you need the paper towel on the bottom, otherwise it won't work and the chips will just be flimsy instead of crisp (it absorbs the moisture). The reason for liberal seasoning is because not all of it is going to stick, but most of it does which is a huge plus and the reason why there is no need for any added oil!

Place the plate in your microwave and heat for 2 minutes, check on them (the ones in the middle might be done, if so, remove them) and then keep on microwaving in 20 to 30 second intervals until they're all crisp.

These "burn" easily, but honestly the burnt ones taste just as delicious (just a slightly different flavor), so don't worry if you burned a batch. Mine are usually done at or before 2 minutes and 30 seconds, but I have a more powerful microwave.

Plus side? They taste JUST like the baked and fried versions but are much healthier, FASTER, and can be used for anything you would traditionally used the fried version for. Think tortilla chip crusted fish, nachos, chicken tortilla soup, etc
Cons? Only one- you can only make 12 chips at a time. Eh, I think I'll survive.

Anyway, back to the ceviche. The rest of the meal consisted of spinach salad but really, everyone just wanted the ceviche. And even though I ate copious amounts of it, I left the table feeling refreshed. The meal felt so light and FRESH! Definitely not a heavy meal. Loved it!

I would tell you how long the leftovers would last in the fridge, but to be honest with you, between the three of us we ate the whole batch in less than 24 hours. I kid you not, this stuff is amazing.

Have you ever made ceviche? And if so, what other vegetables do you like to add to the mix?
I wanted to add a bit more bulk to it so it wasn't just a whole bunch of fish, but I wasn't sure what else would work!

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