First Course: Some Like It Cold

“Florida’s Chef” Justin Timineri serves up seviche and a no-cook approach to summer diningFirst Course: Some Like It Cold

By Rosanne Dunkelberger

Can’t stand the heat?

Don’t sweat it. It’s easy to stay in the kitchen when you’re preparing a light summer dish like seviche, also spelled “ceviche.” This seafood repast is sometimes called “Latin sushi” because, in the traditional recipe, there is no cooking involved. Instead, the fish is “cooked” using citrus (usually lime) juice.

If you’re a little hesitant to serve raw fish in the summer, or just want to be on the safe side, “Florida’s Chef” Justin Timineri suggests giving a quick blanching to your favorite seafood – he likes scallops, shrimp or a firm fish such as grouper – before dressing it with the juice-based vinaigrette. Then “you want to let all those flavors marinate in the fridge for an hour or so” before serving, he advises.

Timineri says the only seviche essentials are salt, pepper, chopped cilantro and thinly sliced red onions. Otherwise, there is plenty of room for improvisation with this dish. It works well as an appetizer, a main dish or atop a salad.

The executive chef for Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Timineri developed a seviche that incorporates watermelon, oranges, ginger and jalapeño into the basic recipe that made its debut at the 2006 Springtime Tallahassee festival.

The complete recipe for Florida-style Watermelon Ceviche, along with another of Chef Timineri’s cool summer favorites, Florida Blue Crab Salad with Avocado, can be found at
thefloridachef.com.

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