Bajan Mahi-mahi Ceviche
► by Executive Chef / Co-owner Larry Rogers of Dockside at 13°/59°
The restaurant’s name speaks to its peaceful setting: a teak and white canvas-decorated deck surrounded by moored boats. “Sitting out there at night, the lights are all around, and when the boats are in, they’re lovely”, adds Larry’s wife and business partner, Michelle.
For this ceviche, as for his restaurant, Larry relies on his fishermen to provide him with the freshest mahi-mahi, grouper and snapper possible. On days when they don’t catch any mahi-mahi, for example, they have to fish deeper for snapper, which increases the price. But he’s willing to pay for quality, which is why there will always be a crudo dish – some version of raw or marinated fish, like ceviche, tartare or carpaccio – on Dockside’s evening menu.
This ceviche recipe is a local interpretation of the Peruvian speciality. “We’ve Caribbeanized it by adding coconut milk, which gives it richness and silkiness”, says the chef. Local limes cut through the richness, mangoes add a touch of sweetness, and Scotch bonnet pepper adds a tingling of spice at the end.
Bajan Mahi-mahi Ceviche
500 g (17 oz.) fresh mahi-mahi fillets (or snapper, grouper, kingfish, or any firm, white fish)
¼ tsp. (0.5 g) grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp. (0.5 g) minced garlic
2 tsp. (6 g) chopped cilantro
¾ cup (185 ml) lime or lemon juice
1 tsp. (5 ml) fish sauce
1 tsp. (3 g) minced chives
1 tbsp. (10 g) finely diced red peppers
1 tbsp. (10 g) finely diced red onion
2 tbsp. (20 g) finely diced cucumber
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
Salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. (20 g) diced tomato (peeled and deseeded)
2 tbsp. (20 g) diced avocado
1 tbsp. (10 g) diced mango
1 tsp. (5 ml) rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. (10 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. (0.5 g) seeded and diced Scotch bonnet chilli pepper
¼ tsp. (0.5 g) salt
⅛ tsp. (0.25 g) pepper
Slice the mahi-mahi into approximate ¼-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl.
Stir in the ginger, garlic, lemon or lime juice, fish sauce and a pinch of salt.
Cover and chill for 15 minutes, until the fish looks opaque and white in colour.
Drain the excess juice and add the cilantro, chives, cucumber, red pepper, red onion and coconut milk to the fish. Season to taste.
Cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. It’s not recommended to marinate the fish overnight.
Combine the diced tomato, avocado, mango, rice wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl.
Add the Scotch bonnet pepper, salt, and pepper and adjust to taste.
Place a slice of romaine in each of the chilled martini glasses then spoon in the ceviche.
Top with 1 tbsp. (15 ml) salsa and serve with plantain chips.
Larry marinates the tender slices for just 15 minutes, unlike some recipes that marinate theirs for an hour or more, which destroys the smooth, raw texture. With truly fresh fish, this isn’t necessary.
For this recipe, you can cut the fish into cubes or slices, depending on the thickness of your fillets. “Think about it this way: the thicker you cut it, the longer you have to leave it to marinate.”
You can substitute any local, firm-fleshed white fish for the mahi-mahi – as long as it’s fresh!
Adjust the amount of Scotch bonnet pepper to taste, but don’t skip it! “There’s no spice in the ceviche itself, so it kicks you with the salsa.”
You could use lemon, but Larry prefers the bigger flavour of lime. It’s also more Caribbean. “You’re not going to have rum punches made with lemon – that would be sacrilege!”