Isn’t it funny how we always think about refreshing citrus drinks such as margaritas and delicious appetizers like ceviche in the summer? But in the dead of winter, I like to imagine myself lying in the sun listening to the ocean breeze and sipping a fresh citrus cocktail!
So as I look out my window now in January on a chilly 30 degree night, I look at my lime tree and my orange tree and they are ripe for the picking! Citrus season is in full swing now in Sacramento and this cold snap gives us the opportunity to pick our backyard citrus before it freezes and do a little daydreaming of the warmer days to come.
After spending more than 3 years in Santa Fe, I have a really close connection with the Mexican culture as well as many wonderful cooks and chefs. Margaritas flow like the Rio Grande and ceviche is definitely a go-to refreshing snack.
Below is a simple recipe that can be easily done at home. There are many variations of ceviche, and once you get the concept down you can get really creative.
Two of our talented bar staff flew down to Mexico last year and blended our own Herradura tequila, the perfect compliment to this ceviche. Swing by and pick up a bottle!
Sea Bass Ceviche
- 1 pound fresh, skinless bass, cut into 1/2-inch dice1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
- 1 medium red onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- Fresh hot green chiles (2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapeños), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
- 1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives (manzanillos work well)
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (blood oranges are fun)
- 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
- Tortilla chips or crackers, for serving
In a 1 1/2-quart stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. Use enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float freely, too little juice means unevenly “cooked” fish. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, until a cube of fish no longer looks raw when broken open. Drain in a colander.
In a large bowl, mix together the green chiles, cilantro and olives. Stir in the fish and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Add the orange juice. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Just before serving, gently stir in the diced avocado.
Note: The fish may be marinated a day in advance; after about 4 hours, when the fish is “cooked,” drain it so that it won’t become too tangy. For the freshest flavor, add the flavorings to the fish no more than a couple of hours before serving. Place the ceviche in a large bowl and let people spoon it onto individual plates to eat with chips or crackers. For a fun presentation I like to serve it in shot glasses garnished with a chip!