Monday, March 9, 2020

Seafood Recipe Part 1 - Red Mullet Ceviche

I have to go back quite a few pages to see the last time I shared a recipe here – August 2018, to be exact. Not that I haven’t been cooking at home, just that I haven’t had much time to trace back the steps to create some of the dishes I have prepared. But when the team from the French seafood purveyor Qwehli offered to send me a few sample products to try recently, I thought I would share my experience with a couple simple recipes.


The young Paris-based company Qwehli may not be a household brand but they mainly focused on wholesale business bringing the freshest sea produce to restaurants and chefs around the world. But one may still find their products in certain retail outlets and online on their website – many offered in individual packages good for 3-4 persons. And yes, in case you asked, they pride themselves of having 100% of their products from sustainable source and preserved in the freshest quality possible.

Ordering online was a breeze. I just chose from the list of items available, send in the form and a few days later, my package was delivered to me by courier on a freezer van. It even came with little booklet of recommended recipes in case you were not familiar with some of the fish you have picked. Each types of fish were individually packed under vacuum and can be kept in freezer. To defrost, I just moved the packs to the refrigerator section the night before and I was good to go the next day.

I first started with the red mullet, which I decided to make a ceviche dish as my first course. The fish was caught wild off Brittany coast and came guts cleaned, filleted with skin on, saving me some troubles in preparation (I don't consider filleting the whole fish my favorite thing to do in the kitchen). That said, I still need to run my hands through the flesh to make sure there's no small bones or scales left – just bear in mind it ain’t TV dinner ingredient.


Once that was done, the rest was straight forward. I sliced the fish thin (but not so thin like carpaccio) and cured in lime juice with a splash of Vietnamese fish sauce and infused with lemongrass (for a touch of Thai flavor). That’s left in a cling-wrapped bowl in the refrigerator. The seafood was kept in sashimi grade so I could totally cook without heat and the acidity cured it well with the zesty flavor. In the meantime, with one mango, I diced one half and blended into coulis the other half; purple onion was thinly sliced and left in an ice-bath to keep the crispiness and color. That plus the chilies and cilantro as garnishes to add to the flavor.


Red Mullet Ceviche (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:
  • Red Mullets Fillets - around 150g
  • One ripe Mango - half diced and half blended into coulis
  • Half Purple Onion - thinly sliced
  • Half a cup of Lime Juice - I squeezed it from 3 Thai baby limes
  • One Tablespoon of Fish Sauce
  • One stalk of Lemongrass - trimmed, peeled and finely cut
  • Handful of Cilantro
  • 2-3 fresh Bird's Eye Chilies, roughly chopped
Steps:
  1. Defrost the fish – either leave that in the refrigerated section overnight, or for a faster method, put the whole frozen package in a water bath for 30-45 minutes. 
  2. Unpack the fish, run through the flesh to remove any bones and scales that might be left behind. Season mildly with salt. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix the lime juice, fish sauce and put in the lemongrass.
  4. Cut the fish into thin slices and leave that in the bowl with the lime juice mixture. 
  5. Cling-wrap the bowl tight – to make sure the fish was completely submerged into the curing liquid – and leave in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. 
  6. Meanwhile, thinly sliced the purple onion and left them in an icebath. Roughly chopped the chilies, removed the top and bottom and the seeds. Take a few cilantro leaves as garnishes. Set all aside.
  7. For the mango, cut half into small dices (0.5cm) and the other blended into thick coulis consistency. Taste – add sugar if the mango was not ripe and sweet enough. The mango was supposed to balance the dish with sweetness not adding to the acidity. Set the diced mango aside and pour the coulis into a squeeze bottle.
  8. To plate, use a large plate and a pair of tweezers or tongs, put the fish in a single layer in the middle, spread some onions, chilies and mango on top, dot the mango coulis on the side and in the center, and garnishes with cilantro and some lime zest. 
Side Note: So how to order you wondered? You can check out their facebook page, email (order@qwehli.hk) or Whatsapp (5429-4299). Enjoy!

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