One of the joys of Colombian food is the rich palette of colors one is able to eat. Cilantro’s heady green, the warming zest of an orange or lime, the shock of shrimp pink… to eat Colombian cuisine is to eat a rainbow.
Life in the Midwest has been sadly monochrome lately, with patches of dirt, sidewalk and street rippling through the ice and snow. Ceviche isn’t really complementary to the weather-who wants to eat a cold salad of raw fish, cucumbers and citrus-but it is the kind of artful dish that can spark some life back into the day. So when the first blast of deeply bone-chilling cold weather hit a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a meal that would brighten my life.
I don’t have access to fresh raw fish, though, at least not in a way I trust, so I improvised.
With perch. And with cooked shrimp. No, perch isn’t a typical ceviche meat, and ceviche is traditionally “cooked” by the acidity of the lime juice instead of heat. But I’m not comfortable thawing out sea (or lake) food and eating it raw. I’ll save my consumption of raw fish for sushi, or trips to the coast.
The dish wasn’t as de-lish as it was last time I had ceviche, in Buenaventura, or in Cartagena, but it was good. The crunch of cucumber, the pucker of red onion and the sweetness of the orange juice and mango came together in a way that put me in Colombia, if only for a few bites at a time.
Want a taste? Here’s the base recipe I followed, tweaked of course, with the perch.