Winner of the James Beard/ KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year 2000 and Winner of the Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food 2000.
August 8, 2022
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Mangia Bene

    The boundaries of the Mediterranean are flexible and fluid, depending on what one wants to illustrate. Take for example seviche, today a well-known appetizer in America of lime or lemon juice-marinated raw fish that is believed to have its origins in Peruvian cuisine. I once read that it was introduced to the United States from Peru by restaurateurs. But seviche is nothing but a Mediterranean method of preserving raw fish. The Latin American Spanish word seviche comes from the Iberian Spanish escabeche, also called schebbeci in Sicily, a word that means “marinated fish.” The Arabs ruled both Spain and Sicily for centuries, and as a result the word escabeche can be traced to the dialectal Arabic word iskibaj, which the great lexicographer Joan Corominas describes as deriving from the older sikbaj, meaning “a kind of meat with vinegar and other ingredients.” The autochthonous preparations of Sicily are best represented in the eggplant seviche and in a swordfish seviche.