Caribbean Ceviche for all mankind

Just back from the West Coast from what turned out to be a mini food tour. Having been raised in Puerto Rico into my young adulthood you can safely assume I’m not a natural lover of winter. I was even surprised at how smitten I was by the snow covered hills and massive icicles in Lake Tahoe. For that moment it felt like I was home in paradise. We ventured from Lake Tahoe to Napa, Sonoma and ended in San Francisco where we visited chef friends, vineyards and many restaurants along the way. And like my unforgettable trip last year to Buenos Aires and Uruguay, this too was a priceless experience to start the year with!

Self-inflicted culinary adventures and childhood is where I draw most of my inspiration. Where ceviche originated is debatable but it is nonetheless a very popular dish across Latin America. It is raw fish or seafood that has been marinated in citrus such as lemon, lime and orange. The acid in the citrus is what “cooks” the fish. So technically it is a raw food, just not vegan. I created this vegan version based on the local tropical flavors of Puerto Rico. The texture and flavor is very close to the “real” thing. Great meal when you feel you want to eat something different and exotic.

I like to use shiitake mushrooms but you can mix it up with your favorite mushroom, although some work better than others. You’ll be amazed at how delicious it is! This dish is also great for those concerned with protein intake on a vegan diet. According to a study done at the University of Maryland, shiitake mushrooms contain all eight essential amino acids better than any other protein source, including red meat and eggs. That sounds like pretty good stuff!

1-2 oranges for juicing
2 lemons, freshly squeezed
2 limes, freshly squeezed
1/4 red onions, fine diced
2 cups wild mushroom mix or favorite type, cleaned and diced
1 avocado, hass varietal, diced
1 mango, medium, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely minced
Gray sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a medium size bowl, mix the orange, lemon, and lime juices. Add the red onions and let soak for a couple of minutes to allow the citrus acid to break down the onion and make it easier to digest.

Meanwhile, clean mushrooms by placing them in a bowl of cold water and massage with your hands to remove any dirt. Using a kitchen or paper towel, lay the mushrooms out and pat dry.

Add the mushrooms to the bowl, mix well and let them sit for up to 30 minutes.

While mushrooms marinade, chop mango, avocado and cilantro.

Strain the mushrooms and onions from mixture and squeeze gently to release some liquid. Discard the liquid. In a separate bowl, mix well the mushroom, onion, mango, avocado and cilantro.

Enjoy with baked tostones!