Much like a baby toddling on two legs for the very first time, the first steps toward a goal are often the heaviest, scariest, most daunting steps of all. However, once that toddler leaves the safety of leaning on the couch or clinging to grown-ups’ legs, that little one erupts with an unstoppable energy.
My inner perfectionist is like the hesitant toddler, leaning on ideas rather than taking that first scary step towards forward movement. I’m trying to change this, to really try for what I want and risk failing instead of risking regret. I just have to decide to do something, and so many times, I pass that first hurdle only to realize it was never a hurdle at all.
For so long, I lumped ceviche into the “that seems complicated” category, or the “leave it to the restaurants” category, but as my South American Inspired Picnic approached, I just decided to make ceviche. It turns out, it’s stupidly simple. The recipe practically prepares itself. Though my other ideas and dreams are not as hands-off, there is something to be said for just deciding to make something and taking that first step.
So here’s to plantain scoops of citrusy fish, with bursts of fresh, summer peaches and dreams of owning a venue, of farm events, of pickling classes, of healing gardens, chef dinners and floral crowns…. or whatever dream is keeping you clinging to a couch. Let’s all just go for it (and then remember to nudge each other along the way)!
Here’s to the first steps!
Adapted from Food & Wine
yield: 4 servings
1/2 pound fresh halibut (or skinless snapper, bass or other ocean fish fillets), skin removed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3/4 cups fresh lime juice
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or fourths
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
1 to 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of Salt
3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 peach, pitted and cut into chunks
Tostadas, tortilla chips or plantain chips, for serving
In a glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. Use enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float freely (too little juice means unevenly “cooked” fish). Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, until a cube of fish no longer looks raw when broken open. Drain in a colander.
In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and olive oil. Stir in the fish and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Add the orange juice. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Just before serving, gently stir in the diced avocado.
Working ahead: The fish may be marinated a day in advance; after about 4 hours, when the fish is “cooked,” drain it so that it won’t become too tangy. For the freshest flavor, add the flavorings to the fish no more than a couple of hours before serving.