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Growing up in the salad bowl of California, I was afforded the luxury of being surrounded by authentic Mexican cuisine and traditions year-round. Cinco de Mayo was more low-key when I was younger, but in recent years, it’s become another reason to get together with family and friends, fire up the grill and enjoy a couple of beers. Usually somewhere in the distance, a mariachi band is playing beneath a brightly-colored tent until the cops show up to enforce noise curfew, which is a sure sign of an excellent celebration that I unfortunately wasn’t invited to.
Over the years, I’ve hosted and attended Cinco de Mayo gatherings and it’s one of those casual gatherings that I find myself looking forward to. I happen to love Mexican food: carne asada, guacamole, spicy salsa, beans, tortillas, flan… I could go on and on. Since Cinco de Mayo doesn’t always fall on a weekend, I pick and choose what to prepare myself and what to purchase from the store. I’m fortunate to have some really awesome Mexican grocery stores nearby, so I always buy salsa and guacamole pre-made, though I do add a little something extra to the guacamole just to make it my own and something special.
Ceviche is one of those dishes I always prepare myself—other than the initial kitchen prep of chopping vegetables and fish, it’s relatively hands off and it’s a wonderful appetizer to enjoy while the carne asada is finishing on the grill. Ceviche is entirely cooked in citrus (fun fact: Corona Light pairs exceptionally well with spicy and citrus-infused dishes), meaning there’s no need to use your stove or oven. I often put it together the night before, to really develop the flavors, and as an added bonus, add a splash of Corona Light to the marinade to bring out the spiciness of the jalapeño. My husband calls ceviche “chick food” because it’s a guilt-free dish that’s infused with a beer with less than 99-calories. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
To bring this fiesta together, I make sure I have enough beer choices for everyone we’re hosting: Corona Extra (my husband’s favorite and the perfect summer beer), Corona Light (for the spicy food lovers) and Negro Modelo for those of us who enjoy Munich-Dunkel-style lagers (try it with carne asada, trust me). If your friends and family are anything like mine, gather bright colored decorations such as beads, piñatas and maracas and watch the party happen
1 1/2 pounds skinless fish filets, such as rock cod, red snapper, sea bass, or flounder, cut into cubes
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
splash of Corona Light
1/2 red onion, diced
2 green onions, white and tender green parts, trimmed and finely minced
1 seeded and diced red bell pepper
1 cup seeded and diced yellow bell pepper
1 jalapeño chopped, seeded, deveined and munched
1/2 cup diced tomato
Dash of hot sauce
1 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cubed
Put the cubed fish in a nonreactive bowl and pour the lemon and lime juices over it. Mix well, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Stir occasionally.
In a bowl, combine the red onion, green onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, tomato, hot pepper, Corona, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Just prior to serving, drain the fish, discarding the liquid, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the vegetable mixture and the avocados, splash of Corona to the fish and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.