In my ongoing commitment to not complain about the days when they get too hot or humid here, I’m instead leaning into it by relying on ceviche on days when even thinking about turning on the stove seems too unbearable. The beauty of having Cross Street Seafood and Kwon’s Fresh Produce so close by means that whenever the inclination hits I can take fifteen minutes and pick up a gorgeous fillet of fish and whatever ingredients I need to make it happen.
I’ve been trying a lot of different fish depending on what my fishmonger has available, but probably my favorite fish to use for ceviche right now is rockfish. Maryland rockfish–not to be confused with the black rockfish that pops up when you search for it on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch–is simply striped bass, and is a sustainable choice. It’s not cheap as prices can climb close to $20 a pound, but ceviche is actually a great way to enjoy it as a little can go a longer way thanks to all of the other ingredients you can add to the bowl.
My favorite additions as of late have been shallots, avocados, garlic (of course), and tomatoes. The avocados especially give some much-needed heft to the dish (all of that good fat!) so it feels more substantial and I can serve a bunch of it to Michael after one of his longer gym sessions and he isn’t left ravenous after the fact. If I even splurge and get more than I expect, there’s even the hope that there will be leftovers for me the next day!
The key to any ceviche is, of course, how long you marinate it. Some fish barely need any time in the juice (see: Chilean sea bass as tiradito) while others benefit greatly from sitting for a prolonged session in citrus (see: catfish ceviche). For rockfish and similar kinds of fish I’ve found that at least a half hour and closer to an hour does the trick , and then another half-hour to let the fish and the vegetables all meld together before serving brings everything together perfectly. Sometimes I’ll get some tortilla chips if the mood strikes, but typically we’re content to eat it by the bowl while watching Good Eats reruns on Netflix or Hulu.
Despite the calendar running out on August, we still have plenty of warm days to come in the coming weeks, so if you are in need of something refreshing yet filling, you have to try this. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Makes four generous servings or six to eight as an appetizer
- 1.5 lbs rockfish, skin removed (have your fishmonger do this for you) and diced
- Juice of 4-5 limes
- 2 avocados, diced
- 2 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- Kosher salt
- Good olive oil for drizzling (optional)
Combine fish and lime juice in a nonreactive bowl (glass is ideal here) and let sit in the fridge, covered, for at least a half hour and up to an hour. Drain the fish (but save the juice as it’s delicious on its own) and combine with the other ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt, cover again (this time cover the plastic wrap directly over the ingredients to prevent the avocados from oxidizing) and let sit in the fridge for another 30 minutes. Finish with a drizzle of good olive oil if desired, stir again, and serve immediately either by itself or with tortilla chips if desired.