A great summer treat, halibut ceviche. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

A great summer treat, halibut ceviche. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

One of the lucky perks about being an independent writer is that I can occasionally entertain invitations to exotic locales on someone else’s dime. Not long ago I was asked by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (institute! sounds academic, no? must be good for you) to visit Alaska. Several of the junkets were no longer available so I was clearly a last-minute fill-in invite. But this was not why I said no. It’s a busy summer is all (thus the 2 posts a week, and a repeat cocktail coming up). But the kind lady who invited me, one Christine Fanning, a senior communications specialist with Schiedermayer Alaska in Anchorage, asked if she could send me some of the finest fish coming off the Alaskan fishing boats. That, Christine, is good communications!

Sister Carri had brought me some exquisite rockfish from Alaska a while back, so no one needed to tell me how good the fish was from those waters. But I wasn’t going to tell Christine that. Now, what to do with the excellent halibut I received?

Halibut is the largest of the flat fishes, a lovely mild fish. It really just needs to be sautéed or roasted to serve warm. But it also makes a superb ceviche, “cooked” only with acidic citrus juice. Christine had been the one to suggest this, sending me a link to Rick Bayless‘s version for Alaskan halibut. I opted to include a sweet garnish (corn) and a fatty, luxurious one (avocado), some onion, and chives. Hard to go wrong when you have excellent fish.

My favorite halibut story comes from Thomas Keller, who, back in the late 1980s at Rakel, received a video from the purveyor, Ingrid Bengis, of the halibut she was sending being caught. So while Keller was serving this halibut, he put the video on the television (presumably by the bar, I didn’t ask). But it was an early effort from a chef to encourage diner awareness—uncommon at the time.

Halibut Ceviche with Corn and Lime

  • 1 pound/455 grams halibut, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup/25 grams minced red onion
  • Juice from 1 or 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons seeded minced jalapeño
  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons minced chives
  • Kernels from 1 ear cooked corn
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
  • Bread or crackers
  1. Combine the halibut, onion, and lime juice just to cover and toss to combine. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Add the chile, avocado, chives, and corn. Season with salt and add the olive oil.
  3. Divide among 4 bowls and serve with crackers.


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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.



11 Wonderful responses to “Summer Ceviche”

  • Allen

    Rockfish makes great ceviche too.
    Halibut are heavy deep water fish, I’ve pulled them up off the coast of Canada and Washington. It’s a lot of work.
    Very different between catching them and buying them in the store.
    Hey, I thought you weren’t a fish guy? This looks great.

  • Carri

    Thanks for sharing this, Michael. Commercial Halibut fishing is deeply ingrained in our culture here in Southcentral Alaska, my husband has crewed on the same 50′ Halibut longline boat for the last 25 years. It is hard and dangerous work and ironically at the end of the day, it is just too expensive to bring a halibut off the boat for personal use so we rarely have it (unless one of our sportfisher friends is willing to share). We ‘settle’ instead for the by-catch, rockfish, which is what I brought you that fall day in Cleveland!

  • Jonathan

    Stuck on the coast of Maine this weekend with all the ingredients, aside from the Halibut. Off to the fishmonger.

  • Earl Schiffke

    Meyer lemons can really give a ceviche a real distinct flavor. Limes can get pretty pedestrian.

  • Mitch

    Hey folks, we will be in Guayaquil and Lima this coming September and October. Any recommendations for local food and color are appreciated.

  • Mitch

    Carri, what a fantastic time we had in Homer, including halibut fishing, a few years ago. I’m intrigued by your suggestion re: pickled salmon.

  • michael regan

    Caught you at the Viking store a while back. You talked about pork belly. I just did a 10 pound pork belly from New Creations Farm. Seasoned for a week and then rinsed and smoked yesterday with applewood chips. Many thanks! Mighty fine eatins’. I think the world of what you do.


  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    Michael made your recipe minus the corn and exchanging for Grouper + mango, cliantro and it was great. I love that this particular recipe can really use a creative mind.

  • Dave Blahnik

    Michael, I’m making this tonight in Boston as an end of summer treat; I bought great fresh halibut at my favorite fish store – Captain Marden’s. But I’m stalled; how do I make this in Le Creuset?