Making Ceviche With Whole Foods' MSC-Certified Swordfish
|Swordfish ceviche. Click for a larger picture.|
I have to admit, it's been a while since I purchased anything at Whole Foods. The prices are a little high for a struggling writer like me (redundant, yes). So I was actually surprised to find such a wide array of affordable seafood in their case, most of which was wild-caught and/or certified as sustainable.
They had a few varieties of fresh, whole Bahamian snapper such as yellowtail, yellow eye, and mutton, each for under $10 per pound. Wild salmon and MSC-certified Chilean sea bass made even those standard fish seem like attractive options (though they both edged up over $20 a pound).
The MSC-certified swordfish, which is harpoon-caught by small-fleet fishermen in the North Atlantic, commanded a reasonable price of $14.99 a pound. The steaks were cut thick and firm with milky-white flesh. I bought a steak that weighed just under a pound. It looked so fresh and tasty that I decided to keep the preparation simple. I'd make a light ceviche and serve it with a rustic mango salsa and simple avocado salad.
This had to have been one of the easiest and tastiest meals I've prepared in a good while. The swordfish was lean and meaty with a real buttery flavor. Tarted up with lime and plenty of red onion, made herbal with some fresh cilantro, the fish made some truly outstanding ceviche. And the sweetness of the mango salsa along with slow-blooming heat from the addition of habanero pepper made everything come alive. Best of all, even after eating all this food, I felt full but not heavy. I could see myself making this meal again and again.
1 pound MSC-certified swordfish
1 slightly ripe mango
1 red onion
1 bunch of cilantro
2 medium-sized vine-ripe tomatoes
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper
plantain chips for scooping
Start by slicing the swordfish into half-inch cubes. I found the easiest way to do this is to cut the steak vertically into half-inch wedges, then turn those over and make two long cuts, then dice those sticks up like a larger brunoise. Place the fish in a lidded, ceramic bowl.
Next, take about a quarter of your red onion and make razor-thin slices. Add those to the bowl along with about a quarter of your cilantro leaves. Don't chop up the leaves or bruise them -- just toss them in whole. Finally, mince your habanero pepper, being careful not to touch your eyes or face afterward (that'll sting a bit). Add half of that to the bowl, more or less depending upon taste.
Squeeze the juice of three limes over the swordfish mixture and season with a few cracks of black pepper (but no salt) and about a TBS of rice wine vinegar. Gently toss the swordfish, cover the bowl, and place in your refrigerator for about 25 minutes, removing to stir every so often.
Once the fish is marinating, you can move on to the salsa. Dice your mango, tomato, and remaining quarter of one red onion, and finely chop about a half a cup of cilantro leaves. Mix the ingredients in a bowl along with the remaining habanero pepper. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and one TBS of of rice wine vinegar and season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Last, the avocado. This part is easy. Just dice up the avocado and place in a bowl along with cumin, a handful of cilantro leaves, and juice of half a lime. Season with S&P and roughly stir the ingredients around until the avocado begins to macerate slightly.
To serve, take a clear class cocktail glass or small bowl. Spoon some of the ceviche into the bowl, then top with mango salsa and finally avocado. Use the plantain chips to scoop the ceviche up, and enjoy the bounty of summer!