Hooray! We enjoyed an unexpected day of sunshine on Tuesday, and it was glorious. It’s almost worth waking up before 5:00 a.m. when you can look up through the overhead hatch and see blue sky. No clouds, no raindrops, no fog, just BLUE SKY! The wind had kicked up again, but we were snug and sheltered, anchored well inside Baby Bear Bay (link) and out of the chop.
Sunny days deserve a celebration, but who wants to spend time in the galley when there’s so much to enjoy outside?! On this day an unseen woodpecker filled the air with his irregular staccato beat. Eagles soared, to circle and swoop down to the water’s surface, warbling their silly trill when they missed their targeted prey. There was wildlife watch, the constant scanning of the brush and shoreline for movement, hoping to spot a bear or even a deer or marten. Fishing, exploring, putting down crab or prawn pots - oh wait a minute, this is the cooking blog, not the cruising notes.
We were just 1.5 days and thirty miles out of Sitka, so the refrigerator and pantry were well stocked with fresh produce and other goodies. Alaskan seafood is always a treat so the celebration menu featured Halibut Ceviche Salad with Avocado Orange Salsa.
I’ve made ceviche before, but usually with a mango salsa. Now I’m a convert to a citrus version with oranges instead; it still adds a sweet note but just tastes fresher. Another change this time was due to my not paying enough attention to the directions. I forgot to add the halibut to the salsa ingredients and plated them separately, first layering greens then salsa and topping that with the ceviche strips. Does it sound like I sipped the tequila instead of drizzling some on the food? No problemo, the dish was still delicious.
Note from the Capt. - why bother cooking halibut any other way when this is so good?!
Note from the cook - we enjoyed a second night of halibut ceviche, this time with everything done according to the recipe directions. It was served as an appetizer, and was every bit as good as the previous salad offering… even on a cool, drizzly day.
Halibut Ceviche (Baby Bear Style)
Recipe loosely adapted from Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill, Thierry Ratteau, Rovers, el al
Serves as an appetizer or as a dinner course
Fresh skinless Alaska halibut
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
small white onion, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
Fresh green chiles to taste (1 to 2 jalapenos or 1 poblano, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped)
1/2 red onion, quartered and sliced thin
1 orange, peeled and chopped (add the juices too)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup English cucumber, small dice
1/2 avocado, small dice
Salt to taste
Julienned Romaine or lettuce
Tortilla chips for serving
Slice the halibut 1/4” thick into cubes, slices, batons, etc. In a glass or stainless steel container combine the marinade ingredients. Add the halibut and toss gently to coat. Let the juices cover the fish completely. Cover bowl and refrigerate for approximately 4 hours (until the fish is opaque throughout). Drain off the liquid, but reserve 1/4 cup of the juices.
In a large bowl, mix the chiles, red onion, orange sections and juices, cilantro and cucumber. Gently stir in the halibut; season to taste with salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Just before serving, gently stir in the diced avocado and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved juices.
As an appetizer, set out the ceviche in a large bowl surrounded by tortilla chips, fill a martini glass, or pile the ceviche onto chips or tostadas. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
As a salad or entrée, line a flat bowl with shredded greens and mound the ceviche in the center. Capt. Ron recommends topping the ceviche with a splash or two of tequila. Garnish with more cilantro and serve with crispy tortilla wedges.
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