Spicy Salmon Ceviche in Fermented Tomato Broth
The summer heat has officially arrived here in Idaho and now we proceed by planning our days with early morning or evening activities to stay cool, sane, produce children that pour into bed and fall fast asleep when the sun goes down at 10:00pm. I am thankful that the place we are renting has an enormous Sycamore in the backyard. The tree’s name? Gandalf the White. Large-leafed wizard, thank you for shading my little hobbits in the heat of the summer. “You shall not burn!”
As far as cooking through the heat, ceviche is a dish that keeps me from muttering curse words over a hot stove or grill. No heat required and therefore, no sweat required either. Not a fan of sweat. With ceviche, you chop it, throw it in a glass bowl, and let it sit for 4 hours for well done ceviche. I love the texture of raw fish, but with ceviche, I like it well done. You could adjust the time if you like it a little more rare.
I made a lacto-fermented tomato broth for the fish to nestle in. This sounds intimidating, but I promise you it is easier than you think! I have been diving into lactic acid fermentation via The Noma Guide to Fermentation and the possibilities are endless. If you are needing a simplified outline on making lacto-fermented vegetables, kombucha, or vinegars, I strongly recommend this book. Your digestion will thank you. Once the tomatoes ferment, blend the tomatoes and the juices, pour through a fine mesh strainer, and the end product is a versatile tomato brine that could up the ante on any marinara, Bloody Mary, or can stand alone as a little nest for ceviche. It’s a simple way to elevate your cooking and it’s not complicated. I love uncomplicated fancy.
Around the ceviche, a little olive oil, some of the ceviche brine, and I quick-pickled some red onion for the top. Needless to say, this is a fairly simple dish but you can make it look fancy with some tiny upgrades. I wish I would have thrown in micro greens so I will save that for next time. The quality of the tortilla chip you dip into this pool of citrus delight makes a difference as well. Get a good chip so you can really get chip-faced without the regret of consuming calories that are not also delicious. That would be a travesty not easily recovered from.
My ceviche isn’t terribly expensive either. I use 1 lb of salmon and 1/2 lb of shrimp. This would be a good amount for 4 - 6 people to start off a summer dinner. Or just eat it for lunch during the hottest part of the day.
In an age where everything feels complicated, fast-paced, and twisted, do yourself a favor and make some ceviche for dinner. I’m not going to claim it will solve all of your problems (although at times I feel like it could), but it is uncomplicated and basically makes itself in the fridge. This will give you time to go play with your kids in the backyard, go for a walk, read an interesting book, and take time to unwind from the current culture of crazy. Just don’t pick up the news in the four hours you are waiting for the ceviche because that would defeat the purpose, am I right? To be serious, I think the ceremony of meal-making with our family and nourishing our bodies is vital to feeling alive and connected in a world that feels less human all the time. Or maybe that’s just me. Artificial intelligence can not eat ceviche, so boom. No fish for the robots. CEVICHE FOREVER!