Ceviche is arguably the easiest way to prepare your whitefish, but look a little deeper and you will find a playful matrix of bright depth and incredibly tender textures. It’s a Latin American staple with Peruvian roots. The dish will expose your fish and lime quality, so make sure you use the best. Play with the salt and acid ratio until you find your preferred taste.
Accompaniments like avocado, cilantro, and fruit bring balance and layer flavor. Just stay true to the five tenets; lime, salt, onion, pepper, and premium fish. Halibut and rockfish are two favorites, but spot shrimp is magic too.
- 16 oz halibut, lingcod or rockfish (yelloweye or Kodiak black)
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 small nectarine or another favorite fruit
- 1 medium piquillo or fresno pepper (roasted is best)
- 3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 medium purple onion or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes or 1 Tbsp fresh hot pepper, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
Thaw fish and cut into bite-size pieces and add to a non-reactive bowl like pyrex or plastic. Then set in the fridge to keep chilled.
Add accompaniments of avocado, nectarine, pepper, cilantro to a small separate bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, lightly salt, and gently toss. Do not over mix or the avocado and fruit will break down. Set in fridge to chill.
Prepare Acid Mix
In a small bowl, combine your acid mixture of onion, hot pepper, lime juice, orange juice, and ½ tsp salt. Mix for a few minutes until salt is dissolved and pepper is infused in the acid.
Add the acid mixture to the chilled fish and gently stir until the fish is coated. It will immediately begin to turn slightly white and the liquid will begin to turn a milky white. This is Leche de Tigre! Return to the fridge and let it cook for the desired amount of time. See below for estimated cooking times.
10-15 minutes = Rare
15-20 minutes = Medium
25-35 minutes = Well Done
Once fish is “cooked” to desired doneness, add in accompaniments and gently stir to combine. Careful not over mix. Salt to taste. Serve with plantain chips, flatbread, crackers, or just a spoon.
- Keep all ingredients chilled as much as possible while preparing.
- The quality of the lime is as important as the quality of your fish.
- Chop accompaniments very finely so they don't overpower the fish texture.
- The ratio of salt and lime is where you can really alter the dish to your liking. This recipe is currently pretty balanced between salt and acid.
- Use fresh peppers for the acid mixture if possible. Leave seeds in for more heat.
- Olive oil is not necessary, but creates a nice mouth feel.
- Salt very little until plating to control the flavor and avoid over salting. You don't lose any depth of flavor salting at the end.
- Nectarine can be substituted with a variety of fruits like peach, mango, kiwi, or grapefruit. Fruit adds balance to the acid.
- Peel the 1st or 2nd layer of the onion or shallot to get to the sweeter core before finely chopping.
- Don’t skip the orange juice if you want to elevate the dish by a degree of sweetness.
- Eat within 2-3 hours for best experience.
Wild at Home
- with Richie Mann -
Ceviche is arguably the easiest way to prepare your whitefish, but look a little deeper and you will find a playful matrix of bright depth and incredibly tender textures. It's no wonder it's called Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s Milk). More tender than raw fish and without the flake of heat-cooked fish, ceviche is a delicate and transcendental middle ground of fish preparation. Follow the five tenets; premium fish, onion, pepper, lime, and salt. Then riff by mixing in fruits to balance the acid and herbs to add depth of flavor. There is no wrong turn down the road to ceviche.