Summer Dining with Catfish Ceviche
When it looks like it’s just going to be too hot to cook, either on the range or the barbecue, a little forethought can provide you with a deliciously savoury and cool dinner. In this case, the main event is ceviche, a quick-pickled fish concoction which is purported to be as old as 2000 years in Peru, but more likely of Moorish origins when Spanish conquistadors colonized the area. However, the culinary art of pickling fish has origins back in early medieval Europe as well, particularly in northern countries, and also has roots in medieval Japan. Pickling fish was, and is, a way to preserve a catch for future use.
Ceviche, however, is meant to be consumed fresh. Myself, I prefer to prepare my ceviche the day before and refrigerate, in order for all the flavours to get happy. I have made many variations of ceviche. One recipe, Tuna Tartar, appears in my cookbook, Stonehouse Cooks. Today’s recipe is a variation on that, a little more spicy, very satisfying. and a lot more affordable than sourcing and paying for quality ahi tuna.
Catfish Ceviche Recipe
1 large boned catfish filet
1 red Spanish onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chipotle infused extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Persian lime infused extra virigin olive oil
1/4 cup honey ginger white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons jalapeno Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Finely dice the catfish and onion. Place in a glass or plastic bowl. Finely mince garlic and add to fish mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve on a bed of your favourite seasonal greens, creamy havarti and oka cheeses, a few oil-packed dried tomatoes. Yum.
I’ve called for infused olive oils in this recipe, because I’m presently on a kick of them. You can purchase infused olive oil from a specialty oil and vinegar shop. Believe it or not I order mine online from a great company called Evoolution. They have a tempting selection of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and if you’re near one of their stores, they have all kinds of tastings and such. If you’re of a mind to make your own infused oil and vinegar, it’s not hard. Simply heat the oil or vinegar, add herbs and spices, bottle and seal well, and allow to sit for a few weeks in a cool, dark place.
However, if you’re not able to procure infused oil or vinegar, and don’t want to make your own, you can simply use the best olive oil and balsamic vinegar at your disposal, and add your own flavouring to the ceviche. If you’re going to do that, I suggest using the following:
1 seeded chipotle
zest of one lime (in which case you can then use the juice of that same lime)
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger (I store mine in the freezer, which makes it super easy for grating)
1 tablespoon honey (go ahead and experiment with different honey)
It’s easy to substitute with this recipe. Basically it’s a method waiting for inspiration. So, for fish substitutes you can use pretty much any mild, well-boned fish. I’ve made ceviche from trout, talapia, salmon, tuna, catfish, shrimp, and scallops. I’ve probably used others, but these are the fish varieties that come to mind.
You can also switch up your seasonings, doing something super easy and brainless like using a seasoning mix like chili powder, cajun spice, curry powder, garam masala, za’atar, Tuscan herb blend, Provencal herb blend. You can substitute any citrus for the lemon. Orange is simply wonderful with a trout ceviche.
You can also use teriyaki or soy sauce in your mix, to give a more Asian flavour, offsetting that with more incendiary pepper.
Just remember the balance rule of sweet, savory, salt, sour.