The origin story of ceviche is murky, but chef Rodolfo Cuadros loves one particular tale of food as medicine: South American sailors lost at sea cured raw seafood in a potent elixir of citrus juices to ward off scurvy from vitamin C deficiency. “It’s not documented history, but as a myth it’s pretty cool,” he says. At Wicker Park’s Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, he puts his own spin on the story with a vegan ceviche that swaps fish for seasonal produce like stone fruit, rhubarb, or, here, honeydew melon. Fresh with just a hint of heat, it makes for a lovely prologue to an early-spring meal.
Rodolfo Cuadros’s Honeydew Melon Ceviche
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:45 minutes
|1||Small sweet potato, peeled and diced|
|2 tsp.||Olive oil|
|1¾ tsp.||Kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste|
|1 cup||Seasoned rice wine vinegar|
|3 Tbsp.||Agave syrup|
|2 cups||Honeydew melon chunks|
|2¼ cups||Frozen grated coconut (available at Pete’s Fresh Market)|
|1 cup||Loosely packed cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish|
|1||Serrano pepper, seeded and roughly chopped|
|¾ cup||Fresh lime juice, divided|
|½ cup||Fresh celery juice (available at Pete’s Fresh Market)|
|Black pepper, to taste|
|¼ cup||Roasted corn kernels (like Corn Nuts)|
|1||Small red onion, very thinly sliced|
1. Toss sweet potatoes in olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast at 350 degrees until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar and agave in a medium bowl. Add melon, stirring to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. While the melon marinates, prepare the leche de tigre: Combine coconut, cilantro, serrano pepper, ½ cup lime juice, celery juice, and remaining salt in a blender and process until very smooth, about 4 minutes.
3. Just before serving, strain melon, discarding the marinade. Return melon to the bowl and toss with remaining lime juice and a pinch of black pepper. Taste and add salt if desired.
4. Divide the leche de tigre among four plates, spreading it into a circle using the back of a spoon. Top each plate with a quarter of the melon. Garnish with sweet potatoes, roasted corn kernels, red onion, and a few cilantro leaves.