In all my time in Mexico and in all my many trips here; and then 10 years spent living in South Texas, not just have I never seen this Mexican raw beef preparation, I’ve also never even heard of it. How can that be?

And it was unbelievably outstanding. Simple to prepare. Healthy. And positively delicious.

I don’t know what it’s called – I guess I should have asked – but here is how it’s made:

  • Take a thin slice (or two) of lean beef and marinate it in fresh lime juice over night in the fridge
  • The next morning take it out of the fridge, dump out the lime juice, and slice the beef into short, small strips
  • Cover the beef with more fresh lime juice and return it to the fridge
  • In the early afternoon, make a crude salsa of diced tomatoes, cilantro, onion and chilies
  • Add the salsa to the beef, lime concoction and mix it all together well and return it to the fridge
  • Come cocktail hour, serve with crunchy tostadas
  • Beverages: shots of tequila/sangrita and cold beer

Note: Sangrita is the way the fancy folks in neighboring Jalisco accompany their tequila. You don’t mix it together, you alternate sipping from one to the other. Sangrita is simply tomato juice, a healthy squeeze of lime, and a generous shot of hot sauce all mixed together. (In Michoacan us common folk just chase shots of tequila with a lager beer.)

And a note about the dish. It tastes exactly like a slightly chewier version of Ahi Tuna Ceviche. So, I’m guessing that if fresh Ahi Tuna is going for something like $20-$30 per pound whereas lean, cheap cuts of steak are around $6-$8 per pound; then I reckon I know what I’ll be serving at my next party.

PS – I learned this from my neighbor, Jose yesterday when he decided that it was going to be a cooking afternoon. He invited me down and I didn’t go to eat – It was 2 pm and I’d just had lunch – but I wanted to see him in action in the kitchen. He had promised some nachos to the woman who lives next door to me for her birthday. That’s what got it all started. He made a ton of nachos, a batch of white rice, frioles, and cooked up some sausage. And then there was that awesome beef ceviche, which between you and me, never saw the inside of the refrigerator. I am guessing the non-frig thing wasn’t so much a lapse in food prep hygiene as it was a mom thing (and we know what works kind of thing).