Fantasy Top Chef & Ceviche

Fantasy Top Chef
Fantasy Top Chef

Fantasy Top Chef and Cevice

Fantasy Top Chef

Okay, the scores for this week:

Me: 12
Michele: 11
Josh: 10
Debbie: 9
Karen: 7
Elise: 7
Colleen: 6

Notice I’m still ahead?  Yeah me, too.  Actually being this far ahead is getting boring.  Can’t anyone stop me?  No?!

Actually, I might be able to stop myself.  I will admit it.  I had to make a a score correction.  Last week, I got confused about which Voltaggio brother I have and gave myself a point for a win rather than Josh.  I have corrected that issue this week.  Oops.



So for my installment of “What did they cook on Top Chef this week?”, I probably should talk about cactus.  But I already have cooked with cactus in Quesadillas and Chili Rellanos (I know you’re stunned at the variety, but hey, not a lot of cactus in classical French or Asian fusion.)

So, this week we’re going to talk about the dish that got Mattin canned: ceviche.

First of all, I want to end the debate that Top Chef has stirred once and for all.  That debate being how to pronounce ceviche.

Jennifer Carroll, the Top Chef contestant (and my pick to win it all) pronounces it suh-VEECH.

Literally the entire rest of the world and pronounces it suh-VEE-chay. 

Still, if Jennifer pronounces it suh-VEECH, that’s good enough for me.  Deal with it!

Now that that’s cleared up, what in tarnation is a ceviche?

Good question.  At it’s most basic, a ceviche is a dish consisting of fish, either shellfish or regular fish, that has been marinated in citrus juice.  

However, the reality of a ceviche is usually much more complex.  Normally, ceviche is considered a raw fish, but if the ceviche uses shellfish, the shellfish is often cooked first before being marinated.  My guess is that this is both a texture and a health thing since most raw shellfish is floppy and well, kind of yuck.  The fish, though, is usually put into the marinade raw where the acid in the citrus “cooks” the fish.

Also, the sauce is often more than just citrus.  Sometimes it can be sweet, like Ron’s coconut milk ceviche, or spicy like Mattin’s spicy tuna ceviche.  (Which, looked really, really good.)  Mexicans have a seafood cocktail that is basically a ceviche in a spicy tomato sauce or cocktail sauce which is really, really good.

Recipes for ceviche?

Okay, I’m not even going to attempt to try my own recipe for ceviche until after I have made several and not killed anyone.  However, I did find some recipes I thought you might like to try.  The key for all these recipes is to buy the fish the day you are going to serve it, keep it cold, and get it into the marinade as soon as the recipe says you should. 

That may sound paranoid, but the fish should be fresh for flavor and to reduce the possibility of foodbourne illness.

Anyway, here are the recipes:

Peruvian Ceviche with Potatoes, Halibut, and Mango 
Emeril’s Ceviche with Orange and Pineapple
Spicy Snapper Ceviche


One last thing: be sure to follow TNSmackdown.  There will be live blogging about every Top Chef every week!

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