Appetite For Instruction: Ceviche Martini

Demonstrated by Michelle Carpenter of Zen Sushi

After 21 years behind a sushi bar, Michelle Carpenter knows a thing or two about fish. "It's very interesting--there's a lot of thought that goes into it," the owner of Zen Sushi says of her specialty, known for its delicate balance of textures and flavors as well as intricate presentation.

Shades of pastel pink, pearl, crimson and orange, show that she is as much an artist as a chef. But today she'll demonstrate a stunning creation that's simple enough for anyone to make at home.

Most casual cooks shy away from seafood showmanship. It's not that we don't want to dazzle; we just don't have the time. Carpenter's Ceviche Martini is as quick and easy as any everyday fish dish, but unlike broiling (so basic) or steaming (so soggy), it's guaranteed to make guests gasp. Combining bright, fresh flavors from Asia and Latin America--that's fusion, folks--this dish is so damn sophisticated, no one will guess you whipped it up in less than 10 minutes.

Step 1: Slice 4 oz. sushi-grade Japanese Red Snapper into bite-size cubes and place in a large bowl. You could also use halibut, flounder or sole. Quality is the key, so choose what is absolutely fresh.

Step 2: Add six diced grape tomatoes, one minced jalapeno, 1 ½ tbsp. chopped cilantro and half a cucumber, skinned, seeded and diced.

Step 3: Squeeze in the juice of one lime and add 2 pinches kosher salt and 3 pinches black pepper.

Step 4: Add a splash of soy sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar. Toss gently and taste for seasoning. The ceviche is ready at this point; no marinating time required.

Step 5: Serve in a martini glass (recipe yields two martinis) and garnish with deep fried wonton skins. Top with flying fish roe if you really want to knock their socks off.

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