Gentl & Hyers
The earthy, smoky flavor of the mezcal sets up both the sharpness of the citrus in the marinade and the fattiness of the avocado. When shopping for marlin, look for a lean fillet with no fatty layers between the muscle—that fat is too chewy for a ceviche. If you can’t find lean marlin, ask for lean swordfish. If the only marlin (or swordfish) at the fish market is fatty, then don’t make ceviche: those cuts are best roasted in the oven.
Excerpted from Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry with Christine Mulke and Oliver Strand (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015.
How to Slice for Ceviche
When you cut fish for ceviche, angle your knife at 45 degrees and make thin cuts against the grain so that each piece is about ¼-inch thick. Make sure that you are slicing in one fluid movement—it’s like slicing through an apple, not sawing though a loaf of bread. Be mindful that the grain might change as you move along the fish, so be sure to adjust the angle of your cut accordingly. Take your time. You’re making ceviche for you and your friends, not trying to beat the clock.
At Hartwood, we slice tuna loin into lengths and sprinkle with salt and chamomile for a quick cure before
cutting into thin slices for ceviche.
Make the ginger mezcal agua: Combine the ginger, lime juice, cucumber, mezcal, honey, serrano, and chamomile in a blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds, until well blended. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and add salt to taste.
Put the marlin in a bowl, add the ginger mezcal agua and salt, and gently mix to combine. Add the pickled white onions, radishes, serrano, cucumber, and hoja santa, if using, and mix gently. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, divide the ceviche among individual serving bowls. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the ginger mezcal agua over each serving. Garnish with the avocado, chamomile, radish sprouts, if using, and sea salt.
We make most of our pickles with a simple cold brine solution because we’re not preserving these ingredients so much as focusing their flavors. Most of the following pickles are best refrigerated for at least 4 hours before using, or overnight, in order to allow the flavors to develop, but you can use them sooner if you must. They will keep in the refrigerator for a week.
Almost all the pickles below work the same way: slice up what you’re going to pickle and put it into a jar, mix the brine solution, and pour it in. These recipes are designed to work for a 1-pint Mason jar, but the yield from the produce you use might be different from what we get in the Yucatán. If you have too much solution, don’t use it all; if you have too little, give the jar a shake every so often to distribute the liquid. Don’t limit yourself to the following recipes—once you get the hang of it, start pickling all your favorite produce.