Greetings from Mexico...
I recently spent time in Zihuatanejo, a small fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific coast that has starred in two movies over the years: In When a Man Loves a Woman, it’s where Andy Garcia takes alcoholic wife Meg Ryan in an attempt to lengthen their denial, and in The Shawshank Redemption, it’s where innocent convict Tim Robbins escapes to start the rest of his life.
Obviously this is a place known for its soothing properties, none more soothing than its fresh-from-the-water seafood—grilled shrimp tacos, whole red snapper in Veracruzana sauce, and my favorite, the local version of ceviche called tiritas de pescado—thin strips of whitefish that have been marinated in lime juice with red onion and chiles. Maybe it’s the different fish the Zihuatanejans use, or the way they slice it in strips instead of chunks—I’m not sure—but I enjoyed it more than any ceviche I can remember. Alas, I scoured all corners of SF and haven’t found it on any menus. You know what that means: We must take to the kitchen. Luckily this recipe is about as easy as they come:
Tiritas de Pescado
1 pound whitefish fillets (mahi-mahi or Spanish mackerel), sliced into very thin strips
2 medium red onions, sliced thinly
8 serrano chiles, sliced thinly
salt, oregano and cilantro to taste
Juice the limes and pour into a non-reactive bowl. Put the fish strips in the juice, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The fish will darken and firm up as it “cooks” in the lime. Mix in the chiles and onions and season to taste with salt, oregano and cilantro. Serve with fresh avocado and tortilla chips (or even better, Saltines). Note: An ice-cold Pacifico or very chilled glass of Riesling takes the whole experience from delicious to blissful in five seconds flat.