Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Fragrant Limes and Conch Ceviche
A friend of Richard’s knows how much we like the fragrant limes from a tree in his yard so he very thoughtfully brought us a bag full of them.
I have never seen limes anything like these – they are orange inside, but taste nothing like oranges. They taste like kafir lime leaves used in Thai cooking smell when you crush them, heavenly. If anyone recognizes them, I would be delighted to know what the varietal name is.
I have used them in cooking, at times a little too liberally according to Dennis. Mostly I have used them to make lime juice. The juice from these limes is so potent, you can dilute it 1:10, add a fair amount of sugar or sweetener, to make a wonderfully refreshing cold drink. Lime juice from regular limes is very common on restaurant menus along with watermelon, guava, grapefruit, and orange juices. Street vendors also sell juices, especially on market days.
It is conch season right now. We bought 3 conchs (out of the shell) and I made conch Ceviche from them using juice from the fragrant limes. First, you chop up the conch into small pieces, put them in a bowl and add enough lime juice to cover them. Then, you chop onion, sweet peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and a bit of habanera pepper to add to the bowl along with some black beans if you like. Season with salt and let marinate at room temperature if you plan to eat it soon or in the fridge if you eat it more than 4 hours later. Just before serving it, add fresh cilantro. If you need to tone down the hotness of the pepper, you can add avocado at any time.
Serve it with tortilla chips, soda crackers, or plantain chips as an appetizer. Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce, a product of Belize, can add some zing if you dare. A nice gin in lime juice (my favorite) or Campari and soda (Dennis’ drink of choice) are compatible drinks.