Aguachile (water chile) is the name of a type of ceviche that is rapidly gaining in popularity. It usually consists of very fresh, raw shrimp laid on a plate and bathed with a pureed mixture of lime juice, chile and salt. It is then topped with some minced cilantro. Since finding shrimp of the proper freshness (sashimi quality) is often diffucult, I tried making the dish with perfectly fresh fish. The result was terrific! I then added some chopped avocado and a drizzle of fruity, extra virgin olive oil to the mix. The result is now my favorite ceviche, perhaps the most refreshing one I have ever had—and certainly the easiest to prepare! The combination of hot, sour, and salty, combined with the complementing richness of avocado and olive oil is a nearly perfect experience. When I am in La Jolla I use fresh halibut, but in San Antonio frozen sashimi grade blue fin (ahi) tuna works nearly as well. How long you leave the fish in the liquid will determine how much it will be “cooked.” I prefer it left for only about 20 minutes.
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 medium-sized serrano chile, stemmed and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound sashimi quality fish
1 large avocado, chopped
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper, to taste
Chopped cilantro, to taste
1. Make the aguachile liquid. Combine the lime juice chile and salt in a blender and blend until completely pureed.
2. Marinate the seafood. Pour the puree into a nonreactive bowl, and then add and toss the fish. Refrigerate the fish for 15 – 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours, depending on how “cooked” you would like it to be.
3. Serve the aguachile. To serve, with a slotted spoon put the pieces of fish into either 2 or 4 plates (depending on whether you are serving it as an appetizer or entrée). Add some avocado to each plate and toss it with the fish. Add a few spoonfuls of the marinating liquid, drizzle on the olive oil, add black pepper, and top with cilantro.
Serves 4 as an appetizer and 2 as a light entree.