This is a belated birthday meal from last Monday, when I gathered all the ingredients, chilled the champagne, yet couldn’t get my hands on quality shellfish. But with the weekend came deliveries of mussels and clams from the northeast and dinner was back on.The same day, Papi had acquired fresh local marlin steaks from a butcher/fishmonger friend. If you see Marlin at a Miami restaurant, they’re more likely to be running bases on the flat-screen than in the menu. They’re difficult to find and even more difficult to cook well. Leave it to Papi to turn this into what might be my new favorite fish dish: marlin ceviche. Combining tips he picked up from home cooks in Ecuador and Peru with his own Latin palette, he “cooks” small cubes of fish in acidic lime and lemon juice, then combines it with cilantro, jalapeños, and a couple secret ingredients. The result, served chilled with Florida avocado slices and plantain chips, perfectly satisfies the mouth with just the right levels of acidity, spice, crunch and cool creaminess. I can’t say enough.
Dinner was a variation on linguine with shellfish sauce. I followed the basic outline of the Bon Appetit recipe in terms of cooking time and steps, with some (ok, many) alterations. I had nearly 5 pounds each of mussels and clams, so I cooked them in separate batches, filled two heaping bowls of shellfish, then tossed the linguine with the fragrant cooking sauce. On the side we had simple roasted asparagus. We toasted mom with a bottle of Laurent Perrier which my boyfriend, who is visiting from France, brought for the occasion. Champagne, shellfish, and family: always a winning recipe for pleasure.
See changes I made to the linguine recipe after the jump.