It felt, just a little bit today, like the worst of winter's dismal drizzle may have been wrung from our skies. Rather than the normal bolstering raincoat and soggy sneakers, today's stroll to the shops was all about reassuring warmth on the face and being drawn to the vibrancy of the limes, chillies and herbs at the greengrocers. Gone was the darwinian draw towards warming comfort food and instead there was a need for sharpness, bright flavours and light crisp salad.
After the last few weeks this was an unexpected, yet welcome, turn of events. As such, plans for a warming soup were shelved and some sea bream was purchased instead. Along with limes, chillies, passion fruit, coriander and avocado, we headed, at least in our minds, down to Polynesia to make the simplest yet most delicious version of a ceviche as I have ever enjoyed.
This really couldn't be easier. The one thing you have to be strict about is to source the freshest fish you possibly can. Otherwise, as you will see, there really isn't anything to this.
4 fillets of sea bream, filleted and skinned
1 red chilli
1 bunch coriander
1 passion fruit
2 heads little gem lettuce
First of all take your fillets of fish and check them for little pin bones and remaining scales. Once you are happy you have nice clean fillets, slice them into 1cm wide strips. Turn them ninety degrees on your board and cut them through the other way, leaving you with nice 1cm diced cubes of fish. Throw them into a shallow bowl and get ready to juice.
Next up we need to juice all the limes directly over the fish as well as squeezing the passion fruit into the same bowl. Season with a good pinch of salt.
All that is left to do is to finely chop the stalks of the coriander (retaining the leaves for later), finely dice the red chilli and the tomato and mix this all though the marinading fish. Cover with cling film and leave to marinade for at least an hour.
When you are ready to eat, wash and separate the leaves of the little gem, thinly slice the avocado and quickly pick through the coriander leaves, you want just the leaves without too much stalk attached.
Having prepared everything, all that is left to do is to eat. Take a spoonful of your ceviche and place it in the waiting cup of lettuce leaf, adorn with avocado and some coriander leaves, gently wrap the leaf and consume the whole damn thing. It should be a thing of absolute delight, especially after all this miserable weather.