I just returned from the beautiful shores of Puerto Vallarta, a sleepy tourist town in Southwest Mexico with the most beautiful of sites and tastes and people. Reality is slowly (and sadly) setting in during these cooler rainy days in Memphis, and I can still feel the sunny, salty air and taste the addictive, salty guac that seemed to arrive on-demand every few hours of the trip...
Traveling with my boyfriend Alex's family was a dream. Though I missed mine dearly over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Shindler-Hughes-Dufour group of 19 proved to offer the best balance of character: easy-going and wildly entertaining, welcoming and grateful. We spent 7 days swimming with dolphins, touring the town's food scene, boating in the Bay, beaching and fishing. Of course, each bucket list activity was framed with a homemade breakfast and dinner in the open-air kitchen and Harry Potter-esque dining room of our seven-story private casa. And plenty of cinnamon sugar-rolled churro deliveries, per Carey's request.
The ultimate highlight was reeling in a 35-pound Mahi (or Dorado) off the Bay of Banderas. Alex's dad, David, helped me hold onto the fishing rod for dear life as the fish fought the line for what felt like five years. Luckily, Lindsey, Adam and Tiffany were ready with cameras, GoPros, and instant polaroids in one hand (and a Tecate beer in the other).
For my first-ever deep sea fishing trip, it was a delight to witness the process in its entirety, from reeling and catching to filleting and serving. Upon returning to Casa Yvonneka, our chef Melena prepared the most exquisite sashimi-style ceviche. I hope to recreate this recipe at home, though nothing beats a fresh catch!
Makes 6 servings
1 pound mahi fillets, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 4 jalapeño chiles, seeded; 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Combine fish, lime juice, and oregano in large glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Chill for approximately 20 minutes.
2. Strain almost all lime juice from fish. Stir in onion, minced and sliced jalapeños, and cilantro. Season with salt. Serve, or chill up to 2 hours.