Tag Archives: tortilla

Ceviche Revelation

Corn and Avocado Ceviche

I think I’ve discovered my new favourite thing to do with pollock: turn it into ceviche.

Pollock is all the rage at the moment as a sustainable alternative to cod. I got into pollock thanks to Rosalind Rathouse at Cookery School who uses it to make beautiful fish cakes and goujons (fish fingers for grown-ups). Her Fish and Shellfish class futher taught me how amazing poached pollack works with black butter sauce (but what wouldn’t be good with black butter sauce?).

Pollock is relatively inexpensive compared to most fish, but also, relatively flavourless. This makes pollock a good candidate for high flavour preparations like curries, fish tacos and, as I discovered this week, ceviche.

Ceviche is interesting – it’s an ancient method of preparing fish originating from South America where the fish gets diced and “cooked” by letting it marinate in citrus juice or other acidic liquid. Although no heat is applied, the fish obtains the colour and texture of cooked fish thanks to the interaction of acid in the citrus and protein in fish. To quote McGee, “the high acidity denatures and coagulates the proteins in the muscle tissue, so that the gel-like translucent tissue becomes opague and firm: but more delicately than it does when heated.”

Yotam Ottolenghi has a recipe for smoked corn and avocado ceviche using sea bass, one of my most favourite fish but also one I reserve for “special occasions”. Wild sea bass (the good stuff), is expensive, and when I have it, I like to cook it simply so I can really enjoy the flavour of the fish, not hide it in lime juice and spices.

Instead, I made his ceviche recipe with pollock, and I think it’s up there with one of the best fish dishes I’ve ever made. I served the ceviche on a crispy corn tortilla (which I achieved by heating a corn tortilla on an oiled frying pan until it was browned on both sides), with a dollop of fresh wasabi I recently acquired from The Wasabi Company. Total win.

Corn and Avocado Ceviche

Recipe: Smoked corn and avocado ceviche [guardian.co.uk]

Avocado Tortilla Soup in the Vitamix

Avocado Tortilla Soup

I’ve owned my Vitamix for a couple years now and have never regretted the purchase. Still, for all my fondness of the machine, I’ve never pushed its limits, particularly the claim that the motor is so powerful it can make hot soup. This week, spurred on by Helen‘s experiments, I decided to test it out with this Avocado Tortilla Soup from the Vitamix Cookbook.

The Vitamix cookbook isn’t the kind of cookbook that really inspires confidence. Mostly due to the pictures: it’s just so old school. But I was willing to give it a shot.

Here’s how it goes:

Avocado Tortilla Soup
 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • ⅓ bunch cilantro (coriander)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ avocado, pitted and peeled
  • ½ lime, peeled
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ½ cup corn
  • 2 oz tortilla chips

Instructions
  1. Place broth, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, pepper, avocado and lime in Vitamix. Select Variable 1. Turn machine quickly to Variable 10 and then to High. Blend for 6-7 minutes. Reduce speed to Variable 2 and remove lid plug. Drop in corn, beans and chips and blend for 10 seconds.
  2. Serve with lime, cilantro and avocado garnish.

 

I skipped the black beans and corn (pulverised corn just seemed wrong and I didn’t have black beans). Instead of tortilla chips, I sliced up strips of corn tortilla and pan-fried them with sweetcorn, a bit of salt and my sister’s kick-ass homemade taco seasoning mix.

Stephanie's homemade taco seasoning Garnish for Tortilla Soup

Result: the Vitamix DOES indeed heat water to the point of near boiling. After six minutes of high-speed blending, the soup was done, and steaming HOT. Also surprising: the soup is pretty good. I can see why they add the corn – it adds necessary sweetness to offset the acidic lime and tomato. But I preferred the corn left as whole kernels. I can’t imagine adding black beans to this – it would rob the brilliant colour. Maybe red lentils or channa dal? Maybe.

The only downside is that the Vitamix is freakin’ LOUD. This may throw a snag in Helen’s and my brainstorm to do a Vitamix supperclub. A Vitamix on full throttle is very antisocial. But let me tell you, the soup that comes out the other end: smooth as silk.

Inspired by @fussfreeflavours I am using the vitamix for the first time to make hot soup. It's loud.