Oh Christmas Tree…plus Salmon Ceviche

by Liz Caskey on December 22, 2011

Yesterday, I finally broke down and bought a fake, plastic (pine) Christmas tree. Four days before Christmas and fittingly on our summer equinox in the Southern hemisphere. Many of you wrote me that Christmas is not Christmas without a tree. I agree. Between holiday and work overwhelm, I was making a bunch of lame excuses why not, but yesterday there was a divine intervention that settled this once and for all.

Running some errands near Mercado Central, there I saw my little old Charlie Brown tree outside a crowded store filled to the brim with junky Chinese plastic items. The price was right. My presents were looking lonely without a tree. So I brought the tree home on an impulse. Francisco & I decorated it with glowing lights, ribbon, balls, and even some of my nostalgic ornaments from childhood. It looked so cute and Christmas-y.

We plugged it in that evening, and its lights flickered and went out. Noooo…..

We fiddled. Nothing. More fiddling. Nada. Oh, those damned Christmas lights. How is it possible they have not invented a better system in all these years?

After some cursing, and debating, we decided a Christmas tree with no lights makes no point, really! We undressed “him” with the patience of Buddha, and a half a bottle of red wine. You know, I really think that a nice glass of wine is a cure-all for these seemingly frustrating situations that are usually salvageable. Now we have our tree, and everything in the world is alright again!!

Today I want to share with you guys a video of a creative take on one of my all-time favorite dishes from Latin America: ceviche. It comes in so many forms, flavors, and interpretations throughout the region. The inspiration for this recipe came from a wonderful little restaurant gem called Afrigonia in the Chilean Patagonian town of Puerto Natales. Salmon abounds in chilly Southern waters and boasts generous omegas necessary for a healthy body (and fat burning, we can all use that with the x-mas cookies floating around…).

Here I use sashimi-grade fresh salmon that feels super slinky in your mouth. It melts away like butter with no fishy taste whatsoever (the opposite of when you cook it with heat). The addition of silky coconut milk pairs beautifully a classic-style New World Chardonnay like Natura’s smokin’ 2011 vintage, with mineral overtones and notes of tropical fruit. And I will confess, I have a thing for coconut milk–who doesn’t?!! I adore how the exotic flavors fuse together around Salmon’s sexiness, and the lime juice’s acidity just pushes all the taste out so it literally bursts in your mouth.

This dish rocks with a crunchy watercress salad for a light, healthy meal. You can also serve this in Chinese spoons for cocktail “bites” or a delicious appetizer any time of the year.

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