The thinly sliced almost translucent pieces of Sea Bass are “cooked” raw in freshly squeezed lemon juice at room temperature for about three hours. There is a perfect balance of saltiness and citrus in this easy starter, sprinkled with finely diced red onion and Italian parsley. Perfect for entertaining in the summer, it is light, refreshing and loaded with juicy flavors. Serve it in individual small cups or family style — in a single layer on a large platter.
One night, while I was in Italy, attending culinary classes of Chef Giuliano Hazan, we made this remarkable dish. While ceviche originated in Central America, apparently Italians love it just as much. Sea Bass, or Mediterranean Branzino as it is known in Europe, has mild flavor and white firm flesh which makes it perfect for the ceviche. You can also substitute Striped Bass or Grouper.
Who doesn’t cry when slicing a raw onion? This is a technique I picked up in the kitchen of Chef Giuliano Hazan. Cut the onion diagonally and, magically, there are no tears. Just watch your fingers, please!
Finely dice the onion and set aside.
Finely chop the parsley. Set aside.
Check for the bones along the flesh with your fingers and remove any using your kitchen tweezers (or eyebrow tweezers as I did). I found about five to six small bones along the spine in each fillet.
Cut the fish across the grain on a diagonal into very thin slices.
Place the slices in a shallow bowl or platter in which ceviche is to be served.
Pour ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice over the fish to cover its surface completely. It seems like a lot of juice, but the fish will be “cooked” by it and will partially absorb it. Drizzle with a high quality, preferably Italian, extra-virgin olive oil.
Scatter the finely diced onion in a thin layer on top of the fish. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let it marinate at room temperature for two and a half to three hours, or until the fish is cooked through.
Sea Bass Ceviche with Diced Red Onion & Italian Parsley
recipe detailsServes 6
- 12 ounces skinless Sea Bass (not Chilean), Striped Bass, or Grouper fillet
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup very finely diced red onion
- 2 tbsp finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram leaves
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Adapted from “Every Night Italian” by Giuliano Hazan.