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The first time I was introduced to ceviche was almost eight years ago in a restaurant in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.
“Gord, you can’t eat that! It’s raw fish. You’re going to get sick.”
I was so wrong!
This hugely popular Central American dish is made from fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice, and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions and salt are also added.
Is ceviche cooked?
A dish in which raw fish is marinated in citrus juice, isn’t cooked. But it’s not exactly raw, either. Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation. In this process, the heat or citric acid changes the proteins in the fish, unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical and physical properties. When fish is bathed in citrus juices, this process of denaturation turns the flesh firm and opaque, as if it had been cooked with heat.
Ceviche spooned onto crackers with a dash of chile now happens to be one of my favorite appetizers. It’s a nice light tasty snack that is great for sharing.
If you enjoy fish (cooked or raw) and have yet to sample ceviche I high recommend you give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Author’s Note: The dish shown in the photo is a shrimp ceviche that I enjoyed poolside at Rocamar restaurant in San Juan del Sur. Cost was C$110 ($4.40 USD).
Select calala that feels heavy for its size. If the skin on the fruit appears glossy yellow or green it is not ready to be eaten. Wait until the skin gets blotchy and starts to shrivel and wrinkle, like an old man’s skin. Even then the inside of the calala may still be yellow and quite sour. When calala looks almost spoiled on the outside the fruit on the inside will be vibrant orange in color and little bit sweet.
Flavor: The juice and pulp of calala is slightly sweet and very tart with a unique burst of citrus flavor. The seeds are surrounded by the pulp of the fruit and are meant to be eaten. They add a nice crunch and provide an incredible amount of fibre.
How to Eat It:
Calala is the one fruit where you eat the seeds and discard the skin. It is often used in juices and smoothies. When added to something very sweet like a banana and pineapple smoothie the calala’s acidity cuts through the sweetness an adds an incredible punch of citrus flavor. My personal favorite way to eat calala is to scoop the seeds and pulp into a bowl, add some natural yogurt, a banana and a handful of roasted cacao beans. The creamy, sweet, sour, bitter, crunchy combination of flavors and texture is amazing.
Passion fruit can be found year round, but high season for this fruit is October through February.
Like many fruits calala is high in Vitamin A, C and antioxidants. It is also incredibly high in fibre. Passion fruit offers a good dose of B vitamins, potassium and loads of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.
The ugly appearance of the skin combined with the weird seedy goopy interior makes the calala one of the ugliest – but most delicious fruits – I eat. Having a calala is part of my daily ritual.
It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. For me, here in Nicaragua – it’s beach day.
With a cold Tona in hand I make my way across the hard packed sand towards the ocean. The sky is brilliant blue in color and scattered with a few big white fluffy clouds. On the horizon I can see the Costa Rican coast line.
My husband, Gordon and our Miniature Schnauzer Maggie are already engaged in a game of fetch. Maggie jumps over the crashing waves in search of her bright orange ball.
To my right four local guys are enjoying a game of their version of Nicaraguan street baseball. Back in the palapa our friend Paul watches over our stuff while waxing his surf board.
I wade into the warm Pacific waters that are just barely cool enough to be refreshing. I inhale the clean salt air. The heat of the afternoon sun on my skin feels good.
“Ahhh, it’s been too long since we’ve been to the beach, ” I say to Gordon. “And way too long since we’ve been to Playa Hermosa.”
After a quick rinse in the fresh water shower I make my way to a lounger to get comfortable with my book and work on my tan. Our friend Clint’s timing couldn’t have been better as he makes his way back from the beach bar with a round of cold refreshing Tonas.
As the sun starts to go down in a blazing orange ball we decide it’s time to pack up and take our short ride home. A shower, a change of clothes and dinner on San Juan bay seemed like a great way to end an already perfect day.
This Wednesday couldn’t have been more different than a Wednesday in my former life in Canada. Gone are the days of sitting at a desk in front of a computer for eight hours. Flips flops instead of heels? Much better!
As we finished our pasta dinners at an authentic Italian restaurant on the beach I felt a sense of calm. I was relaxed and satisfied. Tired, but not stressed.
I didn’t have to rush home to iron clothes for work the next day. I didn’t have to think about not wanting to wake up to the alarm clock in the morning.
I get to spend the next day and the next day and the next day…doing whatever I want to do…and for that…I’m grateful.