Ceviche (Marinated Seafood Salad)
The components of ceviche – raw fish marinated with citrus juices and other ingredients – vary depending on where it’s prepared. While ceviche originated in Latin America, it is now popular in many other countries, each with a different spin. The key to ceviche is using extremely fresh fish and keeping it very cold until serving.
In Mexico, shrimp, squid, tuna and mackerel are commonly used for ceviche. The marinade is salt, lime juice, chile, avocado and cilantro. White sea bass marinated in lemon juice, minced onion, habanero and salt is common in Panama. Florida offers a ceviche made with diced fresh conch marinated with lime juice, chopped onion, minced celery, bell pepper and diced Scotch bonnet chiles.
Hawaiian-style ceviche (poke, a cross between sushi and ceviche) features halibut, snapper, ahi or mahi-mahi marinated in rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger and wasabi.
Here’s my version of ceviche:
1 pound Sashimi-grade mahi-mahi or ahi tuna
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 cup seeded and diced Roma tomato
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Sliced black olives, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Pickled onion, for garnish
Lettuce leaves to line serving bowls
Dice the fish into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chile, salt, pepper, hot sauce, bell pepper and cilantro in a non-reactive bowl. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Refrigerate, covered, for one hour. Stir, making sure all of the ingredients are covered with the citrus juices. Refrigerate for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend.
For service, pour off most of the marinade liquid and spoon the ceviche into serving bowls lined with lettuce leaves.
Garnish with sliced black olives, cilantro and pickled onion. Serve with lime wedges.
Serves: 6 to 8 as an appetizer
Heat Scale: Medium
Pickled onion is a nice addition to ceviche, salads, hamburgers and sandwiches. Refrigerated, these onions will keep for two weeks.
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons course kosher salt
2 cups thinly sliced red onion (one medium onion)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot
Whisk together the water, vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Place the onion and shallot in a jar or non-reactive container; pour the vinegar mixture over. Let this mixture sit at room temperature for one hour, then refrigerate it for and additional three to four hours. Drain the pickled onions before serving.
Yield: 1 cup
Heat scale: Mild
Jamaican Jerk Fish
In Jamaica, jerk cooking is a way of life. Chicken, pork, goat and fish are cooked over pimento wood – usually in repurposed 55-gallon drums – and served alongside the road from “Jerk Shacks.” This recipe uses jerk seasoning, and fries the fish instead of smoking it.
2 pounds farm-raised trout or tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning (homemade—see recipe below, or a commercial variety such as Walkerswood)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Tamari soy sauce
Vegetable oil for frying
Rinse the fish and pat dry. Slice the fish lengthwise in two-inch strips.
Mix jerk seasoning, oil and soy sauce in small bowl. Rub the seasoning mixture onto the fish and let the fish marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to fill the pan halfway. When the oil is hot, add the fish and fry for three minutes per side or until the fish begins to flake. Remove the fish from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
Serve with fried plantains and jerk sauce on the side—see recipe below.
Heat scale: Medium to hot
1/3 cup paprika
2 tablespoons ground allspice
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
Tightly covered, this seasoning will keep for one month.
Yields: 3/4 cup
Heat scale: Medium
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
5 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons ground allspice
3 habanero chiles, seeded and chopped
1 (one-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup or chili sauce
1 tablespoon ground whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Transfer to a mason jar, cover and store, refrigerated, for up to two months.
Heat scale: Medium to hot