Chopped Ceviche and Mexicola
I don’t deny that chopping the fish into such tiny pieces seems perhaps against the express ethos (if I might put it that way), but there’s no logic that can dissuade me. Besides, it really means that you hardly have to steep the fish in the acidy juices at all before it is “cooked” or rather denatured (yes, that is the term) by the lime. Not that that is my reason: I find that eating big chunks of raw fish, no matter that it is cured in some way by its acid bath, can spook people out and this dainty confetti somehow doesn’t. I am mad for it and, truth be told, really love it with a big bowl of tortilla chips on the side, but for elegance often produce little toasts or tostadas instead. I get a slender French baguette or ficelle loaf and cut into thin slices; one loaf should yield about 40 mini tostadas. Brush with a little oil and then burnish slightly in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes.
Use whatever firm whitefish is available to you; my Mexican sources speak of sierra but that’s not an option for me, geographically. If I find black cod, sometimes called Chilean sea bass (and is neither cod nor bass), then I use that, otherwise monkfish.
My Mexicola cocktail goes well with this. I can’t say I have a rigid formula for this simple drink: I just pour. But I’ll jot down what I usually do, per glass, just to get things straight. I put a shot of Tequila into a glass, top with ice cubes, and add lots of lime slices, then fill the glass with very cold Coke or Pepsi.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionBuffet, Cocktail Party, game day
Recipe Coursecold appetizer, hors d'oeuvre
Dietary Considerationcold appetizer, hors d'oeuvre
Mealdinner, lunch, snack
Taste and Textureherby, hot & spicy, light, sharp
- 8 oz skinless and boneless black cod or monkfish fillet, chopped as finely as you can
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus a little more for sprinkling
- 1 jalapeño chile or any medium-sized green chile, deseeded and chopped to give a tablespoon
- Tostadas or tortilla chips, to serve
Put the chopped fish in a wide shallow dish and sprinkle over the lime juice, salt, and oregano. Leave this for 8 minutes.
Drain the fish; it will have made a milky liquid. Add the scallions, cilantro, and chile, and stir gently together.
You can either put teaspoonfuls onto little toasts and sprinkle over some more cilantro, or put the ceviche into a bowl for everyone to dip tortilla chips into.
2007 Nigella Lawson