The holiday season has seen our roads and beaches overrun by boats of all shapes and sizes, with boaties flocking to the ocean in search of sun, sea and fish. Late last month saw 10 hearty snapper arrive on my doorstep after my partner spent a day on one of Leigh’s private fishing charters. So much fish!
I spent an hour filleting them while my partner and son got the smoker going. We rubbed a third of our fillets in manuka honey, garlic salt, sea salt and pepper, and threw them in the smoker for 30 minutes. I bagged another third in portions and popped them in the freezer. Most of these I pan-fried in butter and served with thrice-cooked baby potatoes, and a simple green salad. The remaining third I made in to ceviche, the perfect summer dish that is a ‘must do’ with very fresh fish.
Ceviche is a dish that requires absolutely no cooking as citrus marinates the meat; working in a similar way to pickling. Please note that you absolutely must use fresh fish for this dish and semi-firm white fleshed fish works best. Don’t use oily fish like tuna or mackerel, or freshwater fish. If you’ve never made ceviche, this recipe is definitely worth a try.
450g fresh fish
1 large red capsicum, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
Freshly-squeezed juice of 2 limes and 2 lemons
1 heaped teaspoon of freshly ground sea salt
2 large spring onions, finely sliced
Small handful of mint leaves, finely sliced
Small handful of coriander leaves, finely sliced
Hearty swirl of olive oil
Lashings of freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the ingredients for the dish not long before you plan to eat. When preparing your fish make sure that the skin, bones and bloodline are completely removed. If left on, the bloodline is the dark red portion on the fillet. Cut fish in to small-medium sized cubes and place in a bowl, with the finely chopped capsicum. Refrigerate.
In a separate small bowl mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, sea salt and chopped chilli. Place in the fridge. Wash and dry your spring onions, mint and coriander leaves, slice finely and put in another small bowl and place in the fridge.
When you are ready to eat take your three bowls out of the fridge. Pour your lemon chilli juice over the fish and capsicum. Toss quickly and leave to sit for about three minutes. Don’t leave it for too long as the citrus will cook the fish. Most chefs let their fish marinate between 10-20 minutes, when the fish turns an opaque colour.
It is important that the fish marinates long enough to turn opaque, but do not marinate for over an hour as the fish will fall apart. When the fish is ready, throw in the herbs, a good drizzle of olive oil and black pepper. Give everything another quick toss and serve. Enjoy!