If there is a time and a place for fresh fish it is here and now. As a child my dad would go on early morning fishing trips most weekends. We would meet him at the harbor and eagerly wait to open the cooler and see what he had caught, squealing like the the little girls we were as the fish flopped around. It doesn’t get much more fresh than that, and although he is not the one catching the fish these days, I am still able to go to the local fish market for the fresh catch of the day.
Here in Hawaii, ahi is most commonly eaten raw as Ahi Poke, generally a mix of raw ahi, soy sauce, limu ( seaweed), sesame oil, and chili pepper. You rarely see ceviche, or fish that has been “cooked” in a citrus marinade such as this. Our neighbor had made ceviche the other night, and it was hard not to eat the whole bowl so I decided I needed to make a batch for myself. I figured it was a must to cook with fresh fish while home, and serving it raw is even better when you are so close to the source. I’ve chosen to use mahi mahi in this recipe, but any sea water white fish will work, such as sea bass, striped bass or flounder. Remember, that even though the fish will appear to be cooked, it is still raw so it is important to use fresh fish from a trusted source. When the fish is mixed with the acid from the citrus, the proteins in the flesh denature, giving it the same opaque look that fish has when it has been cooked.
As I write this, I can hear the waves crash up on the rocks outside. This, and the thunder of rain that dumbs on our tin roofs each night, are the most soothing sounds that I know. They remind me to breathe deeply and appreciate and live in each moment. These past weeks have flown by faster than I could have imagined, and each time I’m home it’s more difficult to leave and say goodbye. Tomorrow, my sister and I will embark on a trip of a lifetime. We are off to Southeast Asia where we will meet my boyfriend and the 3 of us will eat foods we never thought we’d encounter, laugh with new friends, and engage in exotic cultures.
I still have a few recipes and photos that I'd love to share with you all from Hawaii. I will post these throughout my trip. I apologize if they are a bit short, but I’ve got countries to see and memories to make! Mahalo for following my blog, and stay tuned for recipes and pictures from across the globe.
Mahi Mahi Ceviche
- 1 # mahi mahi fillet, thinly sliced
- ½ c lime juice
- 2 T yuzu juice*
- 1 T shoyu
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced (less if you are sensitive to heat)
- ¼ red onion, slivered
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
- ½ small cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper (and possibly a pinch of sugar)
Prepare the marinade by mixing lime and yuzu juice, shoyu, and olive oil. Set aside.
Place the pieces of fish in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix in the marinade and vegetables, taste for seasoning and add more salt and a pinch of sugar if needed. Place in the the fridge and allow the fish and vegetables to marinate for about 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, or better yet, taro chips if you can find them.
* Yuzu is a citrus fruit from Southeast Asia that is becoming more and more popular in American fusion cuisine. It can be found on a plethora of NYC menus, but generally only the bottled juice is used. While I was home in the tropics, I thought it would be wonderful to use it since I was able to find the fresh, whole fruit (thanks Lesley!). The flavor is tart and is often compared to grapefruit, so if you are unable to find yuzu, or don’t want to buy a whole bottle for this recipe, grapefruit would make a great substitute.