Welcome to the first installment of Cooking Tico. Each week, the staff of Inside Costa Rica will be bringing you some of our favorite, easy to make, and inexpensive “Tico” recipes, so you can learn to cook like the locals!
Many of these recipes may appear simpler than you had imagined, but that is what Tico dishes are really all about – not a lot of ingredients or fuss. That said, we hope that you take our recipes and “make them your own” by adding and substituting ingredients as you see fit. One key to Costa Rican cooking is learning to use what you have on hand, rather than adhering to a strict recipe.
So, first up, a Tico classic, especially good when you’re enjoying a weekend at the beach: Ceviche!
1/2 kg (1 lb.) Corvina (Sea Bass), filleted and deboned
3 T. Cilantro, finely chopped
2T celery, finely chopped
1/2 T. parsley, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 bay leaves
1. Dice the corvina into small cubes.
2. Place the fish in a glass bowl with all the other ingredients, and the juice of the lemons. The fish should be completely covered by the liquid (the vinegar and lime juice); if its not, add more lime.
3. Add a splash of vegetable oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cover the bowl and place in refrigerator overnight (I wouldn’t go more than 8 hours as the fish can turn dark and chalky if marinated too long).
5. Serve cold with “soda” (saltine) crackers, “patacones,” or tortilla chips and hot sauce (if desired). You can also garnish the ceviche with some avocado cubes.
Makes about 5 servings.
Now that you know how to make the basic “Tico” ceviche using corvina, feel free to experiment with other ingredients or fish. Personally, I also enjoy a shrimp and calamari ceviche, as well. Also experiment with mixing in other types of onion.
There are much fancier ways to make ceviche, as well, that you’ll find in higher-end restaurants, but the point of the Cooking Tico column is to “make it like the locals,” – inexpensive and not a lot of ingredients.
Timothy Williams for Inside Costa Rica
January 9th, 2013