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Oct 31, 2008 01:00 PM

Mexperts: does this ceviche seem odd to you?

I was at a Mexican restaurant here in Denver recently that prepared ceviche de pescado in a way I've never seen. I'm used to its being pretty coarsely chopped; this was very finely chopped—in fact the fish itself was basically flaked and mixed with what my SO likened to pico de gallo, only it also contained shredded carrot, which I've definitely never seen.

Is this a regional variation anyone's familiar with?

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  1. Hey tata - was it ahumado (smoked fish ceviche)? That's often finely shredded.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gini

      Hmm (hey gini), it was regular marinated whitefish. But nonetheless that means shredding's not unheard of...

    2. It's not unusual to see finely chopped fish plus pico de gallo as a Mexican version of ceviche, but the carrot throws me. I sometimes see shredded carrot in salsa - I'm thinking of Green Mountain and Hot Mama's brands - and I can't stand it. Is your Mexican restaurant operated by New England hippie transplants?

      1. From what I've seen here in central Michoacán, here ceviche is finely chopped. (I don't find it appealing. It reminds me of the Herring Salad I disliked as a kid.) I haven't observed the carrot shreds, mainly because I don't order ceviche and haven't had a close look. The carrot could be a cheap "extender".

        When I want ceviche as _I_ like it, I order tiritas de pescado; long strips of lime-marinated fish. Elsewhere, ceviche styles will vary. I've yet to try the Peruvian styles, but look forward to them.

        1. In Mexico some even put the fish in a grinder before marinading so the fish is pretty ground up. It is also common to marinade the fish longer than we might see here so the fish is pretty cooked through. Of course there are plenty of regional and individual variations to go around. How did it taste?

          7 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            It was actually good! Heavy on the lime juice, cilantro & onion, but didn't overpower the fish, because though it was in tiny pieces it was also plentiful.

            But so far, no one else has heard of carrot either. Interesting.

            Almansa: No, I don't think they're New Eng. transplants, not here in the Southwest. :) And thank goodness! Ten years in Boston was ten years with nary a decent Mexican meal.

            1. re: tatamagouche

              What would be your estimate of fish content as a percentage of the whole dish? Can you share the restaurant name?

              1. re: Veggo

                Hey's El Tejado; and I thought the ratio of fish to veggies was good given the unfamiliar style.

                In fact here's a pic (also incl. in my blogpost on the whole meal for Denverites, address on profie).

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  T, great pic. Looks like a high ratio of pico de gallo to fish, but a fair portion. I know the resto but not the family. You have transitioned well from Boston to Denver. I'll be back in Mexico in 11 days. I crave octopus, conch, and boquinette!

                  1. re: Veggo

                    OT, but one thing I desperately miss about Boston—the fact that you could buy octopus and squid in your average supermarket. Not so in Denver; even WF carries them only occasionally. Sigh.

                    Strangely, looks were deceiving—I thought so too, but actually eating it, I didn't feel cheated on the pescado.

                    1. re: tatamagouche

                      When Chips Berry, the miracle worker, and the manager of the Denver Water Board, almost killed in a car wreck (and my friend) , can stock the Cherry Creek reservoir with octopus and squid, I will move back...:) Water is important.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        That would be great, if I could catch my own!

          2. It sounds like it was one of the styles common in parts of Jalisco... ground fish & shredded carrots. I would ask where they are from. In fact, one of my favorite Ceviches in L.A. - El Oasis in Montebello... does a very brisk business with such style of Ceviche.

            The complete opposite of the Guerrero & Oaxaca 'tirita' style of Ceviches that are more like quick marinaded Sashimi than this Jalisco style.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Interesting...what are some other Jaliscan specialties that might appear on the menu that would serve as giveaways that that's where the owners (or their families) are from?

              1. re: tatamagouche

                Caldo Miche & Pescado Ranchero are two prolific dishes in Jalisco's interiori

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Well, not exactly. Nothing listed as Caldo Miche per se, though there are a few fish/shellfish soups. And no fish ranchero, but there is shrimp ranchero...

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    Ask them about Caldo Miche... it might be an off menu dish. Mexican restaurants are notorious for having pedestrian, unremarkable menus... combined with Off Menu specials reserved for those in the know.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      True, but luckily here in Denver there are plenty of places that don't dumb it down. Still, that's a good idea when I end up somewhere that does...

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        Even Mexican restaurants that serve the immigrant population & aren't dumbing it down, really are dumbing it down in the sense that they present a very homegenized, limited, repetitive "Mexican" menu and don't do a good job of serving / promoting what they would actually be good at.... their regional specialties & family recipes.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          Yeah, I hear ya. Although I love this one place that calls itself a Mexico City-style place and serves huaraches and carboncitos, which I'd never seen before...but then, those items could be much more widespread than I'm aware! You're one of the hounds whose Mexican expertise I know I can count on for such things.

                          BTW, w/r/t to your 100 Mexican Dishes post, I was indeed inspired to purchase my own copy of Man Eating Bugs. The dishes (with recipes!) it includes from Mexico are: grasshopper tacos, stinkbug pate, and mealworm spaghetti.