My husband and I spent most of last January in Chile working on this puppet show and then traveling a bit. It was a glorious southern hemisphere summer. We ate a lot of terrific food, which I have been putting off sharing until the weather got warmer in my home hemisphere.
Chile has 2,563 miles of coastline and you can only ever get 110 miles away from the ocean. We ate seafood every single day. The dish that I have been most excited to try to make at home is Salmon Ceviche. I don’t like to eat farmed Salmon, so I have been waiting for the the moment when the I can get fresh wild caught Pacific sockeye. I am hoping that my friends and family in British Colombia will try this dish since they are so close to the source of the world’s best wild salmon.
If you are the kind of person who likes to try out exotic ingredients, I encourage you to seek out Merkén, a smoked hot red chili pepper used in the Chilean cuisine. It’s a traditional condiment used by the indigenous Mapuche, who are an important part of the cultural makeup of Chile. It reminds me of smoked Spanish Paprika but much, much hotter and with a slightly tangy aftertaste. I’m so happy that I brought some home. You can substitute a mixture of hot Spanish Paprika and cayenne pepper.
On the topic of gourmet Chilean produce, I have to say that the Miel de Ulmo (thick eucalyptus honey) was the best honey I’ve ever tasted anywhere in the world, and I buy honey wherever I travel. I wish that I had sent myself a case of it.
I served my ceviche on some lettuce leaves. In Chile it ‘s common to serve it with some cold boiled potatoes as well. The marinating juice is usually served alongside the ceviche and is considered an excellent hangover cure. It’s salty and tangy with a bit of spice. I love it!
- 1/3 cup finely minced red onion
- 16 oz fresh salmon (I like wild sockeye)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- the juice of 8 limes
- the juice of 1 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled Merkén (or substitute hot Spanish paprika and cayenne pepper)
- 1/3 cup finely minced sweet red bell pepper
- 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
- lettuce leaves to serve (or cold boiled potatoes if you prefer)
- Rinse the minced red onion with cold water and set aside to drain.
- Skin the salmon and cut it into 1/2 inch chunks. Sprinkle the fish with salt and set aside.
- Juice the limes and orange and strain out any seeds. Toss the juice into the fish along with the chili pepper, red onion and red pepper. Set aside for half an hour.
- Strain the juice out of the ceviche and pour it into two small glass. Serve the ceviche on lettuce leaves and/or potatoes, sprinkled with cilantro if you like, with the juice on the side.
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