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 ½-inch dice
- ¼ cup/25 grams minced red onion
- Juice from 1 or 2 limes
- 2 teaspoons seeded minced jalapeño
- 1 avocado, cut into ½-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
- Combine the halibut, onion, and lime juice just to cover and toss to combine. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes.
- Add the chile, avocado, chives, and corn. Season with salt and add the olive oil.
- Divide among 4 bowls and serve with crackers.
If you liked this post, take a look at these links:
- My recent post on Wheat Berry Salad.
- You can find a similar ceviche recipe in my award-winning book Ruhlman's Twenty.
- How to find the best ceviche in Peru.
- Watch Anthony Bourdain and Eric Rupert nosh on ceviche in Peru.
© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.