Based upon the South American favorite ceviche; in other words, raw fish “cooked” by being soaked in lemon or lime juice until slightly stiffened and opaque. I find such preparations immensely addictive in warm weather as they are, all at once, refreshing, piquant, vibrant of flavor, and as colorful as an entire trellis of sweet peas. Eat with buttered rye bread or a bowl of tiny, scrupulously scraped, hot new potatoes.
Yield: Serves 4, as a first course
A 12 oz piece of finest-quality tuna fillet
1 tsp sea salt
Juice of 2 limes
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 green or red chillies, finely chopped (seeds removed or not, as you prefer)
3 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
¼ cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 large avocado, halved, peeled, and sliced
2-3 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
Serve with 2/3 cup sour cream
Slice the tuna thinly and place in a large shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with salt and cover with the lime juice. Leave to marinate for 40 minutes, turning the fish over once.
Lift out the fish (which should now look opaque from being “cooked” by the lime juice) and put on a plate. Pour the resultant juices into a small bowl.
Return the tuna to the dish in a presentable manner. Scatter over the onion and chillies.
Arrange the tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado over the top. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the surface and finish with the olive oil.
Finally, return the collected juices to the dish using a spoon, taking particular care to fully anoint each and every piece of avocado, so preventing any discoloration.
Cover and chill for a further 40 minutes or so before serving. Hand round a dish of sour cream at table.