One of our favorite memories from Costa Rica involved beer, dancing and ceviche at Black Marlin, a little open-air restaurant halfway between Playa Garza (where we spent our first 3 weeks with our host family) and Samara (where we spent the subsequent 3 months in a rental apartment). Bismarck, the chef/owner, is known locally for his mixed seafood ceviche.
- ¼ lb octopus (cooked*, cooled and diced)
- ¼ lb clams (cooked**, cooled and removed from shells in advanced)
- ¼ raw firm white fish, diced
- ¼ raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ⅓ cup lime juice***
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small sweet red pepper, finely minced
- 1 jalapeño, finely minced
- ¼ cup ginger ale** – the secret ingredient!
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine fish with most of the lime juice, plus salt, onion, sweet pepper and jalapeno
- Separately combine shrimp with the rest of the lime juice; marinate for for no more than 15 minutes
- Combine all ingredients. Add the ginger ale.
- Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
*Note on cooking octopus: Bismarck simply simmers the octopus in salt water until tender, about an hour.
**Note on clams: Bismarck uses a variety of local clam called piangua. Some consider it an aphrodisiac, which of course led to endless ribald jokes between James and our host dad Alexis. The piangua is harvested from mangrove swamps, is about the size of a cherry, and when cooked tastes like most other clams. However, it also has a kind of ink or “blood” with a mineral-y marine flavor. Bismarck prys open the raw pianguas (like an oyster) to collect the blood, and adds a splash to the ceviche at the end (although we preferred the ceviche without it). Since the piangua is not widely available in the U.S., I’d just use littleneck clams and steam them just until they open.
*** Note on lime juice: As I mentioned in my post on fish ceviche, Costa Rican limes are less acidic than limes available in most American supermarkets. If you are able to get less-acidic Costa Rican limones, you might use ½ cup of juice.