Salmon Ceviche. When raw fish really isn’t.

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Salmon Ceviche. When raw fish really isn’t.

There is raw fish and then, there is raw fish. Sushi is really raw fish. Ceviche is not really raw fish. But almost. It’s a South American way of “cooking” the fish without heat but in citrus juice. Lime juice is the most common, but orange, sour orange, and lemon juice are also used. The acid in the citrus makes the fish opaque, as if it was heated, and gives it a “cooked” texture. After marinating, the fish — could be fin fish, but also scallops, shrimp, clams … you name it from the ocean — is tossed with other ingredients to make a sort of fish salad.

I tell you this to explain that there isn’t only one ceviche and that you can play with the idea. On recent trips to Italy, for instance, I’ve noticed “pesce crudo” has become quite popular, but the fish is never really, as the Italian word “crudo” means, raw. It is actually dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, the lemon juice invariably going on first so that its acidity “cooks” the fish slightly before the oil dresses it.

The following recipe is that sort of ceviche or pesce crudo. It is not authentic anything, just delicious.

How long you marinate the fish depends on how “raw” you like. After 2 1/2 hours, most of the salmon will still look raw. After 12 hours it should look partly “cooked” — light pink instead of raw-pink. If refrigerated, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to take the deep chill off. It’s a great recipe to use for summer entertaining. It makes a wonderful first course or, with a salad, a light lunch. It’s so rich you can’t eat too much of it.

Ceviche of Salmon
Serves about 6

salmon ceviche, when raw fish really isn't, arthur schwartz, the three tomatoes


2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno pepper (with or without seeds, depending on how hot you want it)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds salmon filet, on its skin and in one piece approximately 8 inches long and 8 inches wide


  • In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients, except the salmon.
  • Assemble the dish at least 2 1/2 hours before serving and as much as 12 hours:
  • With a very sharp, long-bladed knife, slice the salmon as thin as possible, working at a sharp diagonal and cutting in the same direction as the grain of the fish — in other words, the way smoked salmon is usually sliced. Discard the skin.
  • Arrange half the salmon slices in one layer (they may be very slightly overlapping) in a large, shallow serving dish or 9- by 12-inch glass (or stainless steel) baking (or roasting) pan.
  • Drizzle on half the sauce.
  • Cover with the rest of the salmon slices and spread with the remaining sauce.
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • Serve with wedges of lime, if desired, and thinly sliced white toast or black bread., Inc.



  • Arthur Schwartz

    About Arthur: The New York Times Magazine called Arthur Schwartz “a walking Google of food and restaurant knowledge.” As the restaurant critic and executive food editor of the New York Daily News, which he was for 18 years, he was called The Schwartz Who Ate New York. Nowadays, he is best known as The Food Maven, the name of his website. Whatever the sobriquet, he is acknowledged as one of the country’s foremost experts on food, cooking, culinary history, restaurants, and restaurant history. Visit Arthur At:

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