Mackerel is one of my favorite types of fish to eat raw. I love its firmer, denser texture and delicately fishy taste (sounds like an oxymoron, I know…). Weirdly, I even prefer mackerel sashimi to yellowtail (mackerel sashimi box at Izakaya 10, mmmmm….), and wherever there’s mackerel ceviche on the menu, I go for it. Last week I made up my own version.
- Confirm with your fishmonger that the mackerel is very fresh — you don’t want it to taste any fishier than it already does by nature. Then ask for 1 medium (1.5 lbs) specimen to be filleted.
- If there are any short bones remaining in the sides (you can clearly feel them with your finger), cut the fillets along that side bone line and pare the the bones. Then slice the fish with a sharp knife into 1/4″ strips.
- Combine sliced fish with the juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more to taste), 2-3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1/2 (or more) thinly sliced red onion, 1 sliced or diced tomato, 1/2 (or more) jalapeño pepper (with seeds or without, depending on how spicy you like it) OR a pinch of ground cayenne pepper, 1/2 – 1 cup chopped cilantro, and 2 tablespoons ketchup. Yes, ketchup. It is the secret ceviche ingredient a Colombian man named Flavio once revealed to me, and it has consistently served me well. (He was a doorman in a building I used to live in, and each time he’d see evidence of a fun night in my morning appearance, he would always prescribe ceviche as the best hangover cure. I’ve tried it – it does work!)
- To this recipe I also added a small (1/4″) peeled and finely chopped slice of fresh ginger (optional, but turned out to be a nice touch) and a splash of rosé (because that’s what was keeping me company while I cooked).
- Taste for salt and pepper, adjust, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. I personally don’t mind eating it sooner but it takes a little longer for lime and lemon juice to properly “cook” the fish.
- I like it with sliced baguette or any other bread that nicely soaks up the delicious ceviche juice.
- 1 very fresh medium-sized Spanish mackerel, filled, de-boned and sliced into 1/4″ strips
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- juice of 1 lemon & 1 lime (+ an optional splash of white or rosé wine)
- 1/2 (or more) jalapeño pepper (with seeds or without, depending on how spicy you like it) OR a pinch of ground cayenne pepper
- 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 – 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 sliced or diced tomato
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more to taste)
- optional: a small (1/4″) peeled and finely chopped slice of fresh ginger