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A simple recipe to make a fresh, clean-tasting summertime appetizer.
By Toby Lapinski
Fisherman subscriber Jan Zwirko with part of a recent catch of hefty black sea bass.

Ceviche is essentially raw fish that is “cooked” in lemon or lime juice and garnished with fresh vegetables like onion, cucumber, avocado and jalapeno. It is worth pointing out, however, that the fish is not actually cooked. Instead the acids in the lemons and limes give the meat the appearance of being cooked. In truth it is still raw as there is no heat applied so there is a health risk associated with the dish.

There are probably a million different recipes out there for ceviche, each adding its own special flare and twist on the 2,000-year-old dish. I really like it made with tuna, black sea bass, fluke or porgy, but most any fresh or saltwater fish can be used; for the photos I used black sea bass. I prefer the taste of limes over lemons, so while I use both, I add more lime juice. When I know my son is going to be eating it with me, I go light on the jalapeno, but when it’s just for me I prefer more heat. What’s really cool about ceviche is that there are no rules so you can customize it to your taste preferences. While it is best prepared with fresh fish, caught in the last 24 hours, properly frozen fish can also be used as can market-bought fish.


  • 1 pound fresh fish, diced
  • 1 small or ½ large red onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 – 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 jalapeno with seeds removed and chopped very fine
  • 3 – 5 lemons and/or limes, juiced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry or plum tomatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 avocado, cubed


Place the first seven ingredients into a bowl, add lemon/lime juice, mix well and place in a refrigerator. Some recipes call for 30 minutes of soak time, others for up to 8 hours. Stir the mixture every 15 – 30 minutes to ensure even coating of juice. I find that the smaller fish pieces require less time and the larger ones longer, so this is more done by sight. I like my fish to be firm but not to the consistency of baked fish.

Chop the onion and garlic, cube the fish, and add it to your mixing bowl.

Remove the seeds from a jalapeno and chop it into small pieces.

Juice several lemons and limes. You can do it by hand or with a juicer.

Add the juice to the fish along with the salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.

Once the fish is done to your liking, remove it from the refrigerator and add the tomatoes, avocado and cilantro and mix thoroughly. I like to let it sit for another 15 minutes before tasting and will add more salt, cilantro or jalapenos if needed.

While the fish soaks in the juice mixture, chop your tomatoes.

To prevent them from going brown, the avacado should be cut just before adding it to the juice/fish mixture.

The final ingredient added just before plating: cilantro.

Plate the ceviche and serve it with tortilla chips, pita bread or just eat it straight. A good batch usually begins as an appetizer for me but quickly becomes the centerpiece of the meal. Enjoy!