Ceviche made sea robin style.
The plentiful sea robin, also known as gurnard, is quickly gaining popularity as table fare along the east coast, but there are still many holdouts that look at them as a fish to be tossed back, or used for fluke bait. Okay, I must admit, I was one of those who did just that until a few years ago, after discovering the many ways to prepare these underrated, tasty fillets.
At the top of my list of ways to enjoy sea robin is ceviche. This is a method using the citric acid from the juice of fresh limes or lemons to ‘cook’ the fish. It can be put together in very little time, and is a great way to have a delectable and nutritious meal of fresh local seafood that will make a believer out of many skeptics! There are numerous recipes for ceviche. Each country has their own way of doing it. Some very simple, and some more exotic. So after talking with a co-worker who was born in Peru, I took some of his ideas combined them with a Mexican recipe that I already liked. The result is very easy to prepare, and absolutely delicious. Here are the ingredients to get you started.
1-1/2 pounds of fresh skinned sea robin fillets
1 red onion
1 garlic clove
6 lemons or limes
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of olive oil
2 jalapenos (if you like it hot)
1/4 cup of parsley
To get started, cut the fish into bite-sized cubes and place into a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl. The acidity of the citrus will not react with these materials, so they are preferred. Next dice the tomato and avocado and add to fish along with the minced garlic clove and chopped red onion. Add in a teaspoon of olive oil and stir well.
Next, it’s time to saturate the whole mix with the fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice. Make sure the fish is completely covered by the juice by pushing all the pieces to the bottom of bowl. Now refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes while the juice performs its magic. While the fish is marinating in the citrus juice it will take on the opaque look of cooked fish, it will also take on a firmer texture very similar to fish cooked with heat! After removing from the fridge, spoon into a bowl, including the juice and sprinkle with some sea salt to your liking.
You can enjoy this dish ‘as is’ or with some crunchy tortillas, which is my preference. Some other traditional sides served with ceviche are sweet potato and corn as well as plantains.
Note: Being this fish is not cooked with heat, but instead with the citrus juice of the limes and lemons you can freeze the fish and then thaw out prior to making this dish if you feel uneasy about non-traditionally cooked fish. The freezing process will eliminate any worries. You can also go as far as to blanch the fish quickly before preparing if you prefer.