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Watermelon tuna ceviche

Citrus juice quickly “cooks” sushi-grade tuna for this light, fresh, colorful first course.

By Blue Kitchen / August 24, 2011

Cubes of watermelon mimick red-fleshed tuna and tiny black charnushka seeds fill in for the absent watermelon seeds.

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As American psychology professor Abraham Maslow once said, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Los Cabos, at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, is surrounded on three sides by water. To the lucky inhabitants there, everything looks like a seafood buffet.

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I saw this firsthand on a recent culinary press trip to Los Cabos (yes, I’m on about that again). Did you know that there are flights at 5:30 in the morning? Me neither. But being on one meant I grabbed an airport breakfast sandwich and cursed when a mad dash for my connecting flight in Atlanta precluded getting something more. So late afternoon found me at my hotel, the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, desperate for a light meal to tide me over until the group dinner. I found it at the hotel’s oceanside restaurant, La Roca. It was called, quite simply, Seafood from the Pacific.

And it was perfect. Shrimp, octopus, lobster and bay scallops, all impossibly fresh, poached and served cold with celery, avocado, cucumber, red onion and a citrus vinaigrette. I ate it on the restaurant veranda, with maybe 50 yards of beach between me and the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, smelling the salt air and understanding a whole new kind of farm to table.

The next day, I got an even closer understanding, as my fellow travelers and I walked along the marina in Cabo San Lucas at 6:30 in the morning, on our way to a fishing boat that would take us out onto the Sea of Cortés, around the tip of the Baja Peninsula and out onto the Pacific Ocean.

The fishing boat in question was the Linda Fiesta, a 26-footer from Top Anglers Sportfishing. I’m pretty sure the captain was Ernesto and the mate, Enrique. But it could have been the other way around – it was, after all, 6:30 in the morning.

Top Anglers offers big game fishing trips that take you over the horizon, beyond sight of land, for sailfish and other trophy fish. But we were fishing for lunch. We stayed within sight of the shore and within a few hours, had reeled in an impressive catch of bonita, mid-sized, predatory members of the mackerel family, related to tuna.

When we got back to the marina, the ever resourceful Rose (our host for the trip) found someone to clean the fish, feeding the skeletons and heads to waiting pelicans, sometimes scratching them on the heads like puppies. Then we were off to the Wyndham Cabo San Lucas Resort, a short walk across the marina. Our catch was whisked away to the kitchen, and we toured the resort.

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