Recipe: spicy ceviche tostadas from Agave y Aguacate chef Francisco Alejandri
By Francisco Alejandri
Agave y Aguacate
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
REFRIGERATION TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 8 minutes
1 lb fresh fillets lean white fish
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp sea salt
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
3 tbsp white onion, finely chopped
½ habanero pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, thinly sliced
4–12 fresh corn tortillas
1 cup canola oil
Generous pinches of salt
1. To prepare ceviche, squeeze the juice from 12 limes (about 1½ cups) into a measuring cup. Remove skin and bones from the fish and cut the fillets into small pieces. Pulse carrot in a food processor until finely chopped. Add fish and pulse until ground. (Be careful not to overprocess into a sticky paste.) Place the fish mixture in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle with salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. To prepare tostada, heat oil in a medium-sized heavy-bottom pot or skillet at medium-high or high. When it’s hot but not smoking, or when it reads 350º F on a thermometer, add a tortilla. Cook for approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side until the tortilla is lightly golden. Remove the tostada with tongs and place on paper towel to soak up excess oil, then sprinkle with salt. Repeat steps with the remaining tortillas.
3. When ceviche is done, strain the mixture into a colander, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, until the ceviche is almost dry. Add remaining ingredients except avocado. Stir to mix. Divide avocado slices over tortillas, then top each with a scant ½ cup ceviche. Drizzle with more lime juice and sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve with hot sauce, if you like.
You can pick up fresh corn tortillas at La Tortilleria in Brockton Village (1009 Dufferin St., 416-901-7842).
AGAVE Y AGUACATE
For one short year, chef Francisco Alejandri made some of the city’s most inventive street snacks—beef tongue in mole sauce, octopus with chipotle—at his Mexican food stall, Agave y Aguacate, in Kensington Market. When he closed up shop in 2012, the city issued a collective groan of disappointment. This fall, he’s opening up Agave y Aguacate 2.0, a permanent restaurant in Baldwin Village. You don’t need to wait, though, to enjoy his simple, hot pepper–kicked ceviche recipe. It’s just some white fish (he uses red snapper, tilapia, king mackerel or striped bass) ground up with carrot, then tossed with fresh vegetables. Other chefs may drown a fish tostada in cilantro cream, but Alejandri electrifies his version with habanero peppers and a dose of lime juice. Served on a crispy tostada, the ceviche is light, refreshing and eye-poppingly spicy.