You would think that most chefs don’t have too many food aversions. We are trained in everything food for the most part. However, to most people’s surprise, I won’t eat any flesh raw including fish. Nope, not even in sushi. The exact reason—raw just freaks me out from texture to possible contaminants. But that’s just me.
This past May while teaching a week long cooking program my students asked me to show them how to make ceviche—fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices. While my plan was to make a miso baked halibut with my thirty-nine students for our hands-on cooking afternoon, I re-adjusted my intentions to accommodate what they wanted and what I now see I needed!
Here’s a little secret—I had never made ceviche until this past May. And I probably tasted it two times in my life prior to this culinary moment. But given that I am an intuitive cook, I pulled it together to demonstrate this raw flesh creation. Technically speaking, the fish “cooks” as it sits in the citrus so it really isn’t raw.
With thirty-nine onlookers, I gently sliced the halibut fillets into long thin strips carefully aligning them in a row for further cutting into tiny chunks (I figured that the smaller the pieces the easier to swallow, for me anyway!). Tossing them in a bowl, I added enough fresh lime juice to cover the fish, salt, garlic, scallions, red bell pepper, jalapeno and cilantro then finished it with a little extra virgin olive oil. After a quick yet thorough toss, the ceviche sat in the fridge for roughly thirty minutes to “cook”.
After the demo, my students started working on their own ceviche creations (though some did stick with the original miso baked halibut recipe). And upon tasting what I had made and what they made, I fell in love. And since, I haven’t been able to stop making ceviche especially with the super fresh sustainable fish—whether sea bass, striped bass, fluke or flounder—that comes to me weekly from Dock to Dish, my local Community Supported Fishery (CSF)!
So this is what I have to say about ceviche given the fact that I am now a proud advocate—give it a try as it is incredibly fresh, nutritious, delicious and super simple to make. It’s great as an appetizer, a snack or a darn meal. And it keeps for a good three days. Here’s my recipe:
1 ½ pounds truly fresh white fish (fluke, flounder, cod, halibut), cut into tiny chunks
6 limes, juiced (or enough to cover fish)
1 teaspoon salt (may need to add more at end to adjust flavor)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup red bell pepper, small dice
½ teaspoon jalapeno pepper, minced
½ cup cilantro, rough chop
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Toss all ingredients in bowl and mix gently but thoroughly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap (or other wrap) and let sit in fridge for 30 minutes or up to one hour. Mix again and add salt as needed. Serve “naked” or with tortilla chips or crackers.
If you know of another great recipe for ceviche recipe please forward for all to enjoy!