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summer nights

Recipe: tuna ceviche

You still have until midnight tonight (Mountain Daylight Time) to leave a comment on the Food and Light recap post and possibly win a most excellent swag bag from CHEFS catalog! So get crackin’!

We’re technically only two weeks into official summer and I feel as if my face is smashed up against the glass. There is an urgency to cramming as much as possible into the summer months because that weather, that light, that “free time” is so fleeting. It’s not terribly unlike the alpine wildflowers who until recently were buried under feet of snow. With a fast melt off and warm up, the wildflowers are going gangbusters. Just a quick walk through the hood is evidence of that.

the colorado state flower (blue columbine)

wild rose

indian paintbrush (for diane!)

This is the most beautiful time of year here in Colorado. That’s saying a lot because Colorado is pretty spanking gorgeous any time! Even yesterday evening when pissing rain, hail, and brilliant bolts of lightning came crashing down around our house – it was awesomely beautiful the way only Nature can be. The big question on my mind was if there would be fireworks. Our little town puts on an impressive display each year over the reservoir. It’s a small affair compared to the ginormous fireworks extravaganzas we caught at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, but this setting appeals to me more. But it was foggy, rainy, and there was still lightning at 8:30. We sat in the car on a pullout by the side of the reservoir waiting. Mountain weather changes quickly. And so it was last night at 9pm that the fog rose, the rain stopped and the lightning moved south. I love me some fireworks.

The generally busy schedule of summer means we are keeping things simple in the kitchen. I honestly believe if it weren’t for this blog, I’d just eat watermelon all summer long. You may laugh, but it’s been known to happen in the past… However, raw is what I love during this time of year. So why not ceviche?

tuna, avocado, capers, red onion, green onion, cilantro, lime, garlic, jalapeno

dice the tuna into little ruby-colored gems

I’ve had all manner of ceviche made with red snapper or scallop or shrimp or salmon, but the first time I had tuna ceviche, my reaction was that of slight disappointment. Because when you are a sushi whore like I am, you just don’t want to cook that precious tuna at all – not even with a squeeze of lime juice. I got over that issue soon enough… like as soon as I tasted it. Lime and avocado are among the more heavenly combinations I can think of and the addition of a superstar like maguro (sashimi grade tuna) makes one (me) a little giddy.

soak the onions in cold water

squeeze lime juice over the vegetables

There is only one way to prepare ceviche and that is with the absolute freshest ingredients you can get your hands on. The fish, I’m talking about the fish first and foremost. Fish that isn’t fresh just plays like a horror story in my mind (and my gut). A perfectly ripe avocado can’t hurt either. It’s all about bringing these flavors and textures together – not too firm, not too mushy. Goldilocks would say it’s just right. For me, it’s like butter. Add or omit ingredients as you like. Ceviche is wonderfully flexible in that way. I tend to double the capers because I’m a salt/pickle freak.

pouring the lime juice and olive oil dressing


The recipe said to let the ceviche sit for 15 minutes, but I didn’t. I don’t like the idea of my ruby-colored cubes of tuna turning that gray shade of cooked fish. So we ate it all up without waiting. One thing I would recommend trying is tossing in some diced mango. I fanned a few slices of mango for the photograph, but found the addition of that sweet and tart to the ceviche utterly delightful. It’s like a special present to yourself.

happiness in a bowl

Tuna Ceviche
[print recipe]
from the New York Times

1 lb. maguro (sashimi-grade tuna), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, small dice
4 stalks green onions, chopped (just the greens)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp capers, drained (optional)
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 mango, peeled and diced (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsps lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped to taste

Refrigerate the diced tuna until ready to use. Place the onion in a small bowl of cold water for five minutes. Drain the onion and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the onion, green onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper, capers, avocado, mango (if using), salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Toss. Add the tuna to the bowl. In a small bowl or vessel, mix the remaining 4 tablespoons of lime juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil together. Pour over the contents of the bowl and toss. Add the cilantro just before serving. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

28 nibbles at “summer nights”

  1. Veronica says:

    Beautiful pictures! Amazing!!

  2. keiko says:

    Jen, I think I have to visit Colorado just to see the blue columbine :) Everything looks so beautiful (and the tuna!) – have a great summer, love to Kaweah too! xx

  3. Lisa is Bossy says:

    Final image: Rule of Thirds!! See? I learned something! :P

  4. M @ Betty Crapper says:

    Oh, those flowers make me happy, very happy indeed.

  5. JelliDonut says:

    LOVE the photos and that tuna makes me dizzy–it looks so yummy. Apparently, I live down the hill from you, in Lakewood, and the rain never stopped the evening of the 4th. We usually walk up the street to watch fireworks, but not last night. I’ll console myself with your photos. Thanks!

  6. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Oh, I now need ceviche! Note to self: must visit Whole Paycheck soon.

    The columbines are so beautiful! Nature totally effed up our fireworks last night (Miss M. cried bitterly about it) but I tried to tell her that lightning=Nature’s fireworks. She looked at me like, “eat shit.”

  7. BldrJanet says:

    If I had known the skies were clearing in Nederland, I’d have headed up the hill. We were disappointed (me, as much or more than my daughter) that it poured last night in Boulder. I love the reflection of the lights in the water. Double the fun! But really, those wildflowers are the most spectacular shots. I’ll have to bring my camera on our hike at Brainard this weekend, and practice all those things you taught us last week…

  8. Kristin says:

    Dare I admit here to never having tried sashimi or ceviche? But those gorgeous nuggets of diced tuna are darn enticing.

  9. vanillasugar says:

    i would love to see those photos in large size hanging on a bare white wall. so good. you have impeccable timing for snapping firework photos–that’s for sure.

  10. Wei-Wei says:

    I’ve never tried ceviche! I’ve only recently dared to try sashimi, so… one step at a time! Your photos are lovely as always. All the fireworks are so perfectly captured!


  11. Phoo-D says:

    I’ve tried making tuna ceviche at home after having an incredible version in Napa but my recipe was a dud. Your recipe sounds like the perfect combination of sweet and spicy flavors. Love, love, love the fireworks shots. Spectacular colors and framing!

  12. Maytina says:

    You guys had winter foreeeeeever this year! Your photos are beautiful and inspiring as usual. :)

  13. Ronine says:

    What a magnificent state flower, Colorado has!

    The ceviche looks good but I wonder why you soak the onions – is it to take some of its sharpness out?

  14. Lucie says:

    Your firework pictures are beautiful! I love tuna ceviche–a perfect recipe for when it’s too hot out to eat anything warm. Yum!

  15. Mrs Ergül says:

    Yum yum yum! There is nothing I don’t like in the recipe!! Everything from the capers to mango!

  16. Holly says:

    I need to find a place closer to me that sells sushi grade tuna!! I can’t wait to try out this recipe…ceviche always sounds so good to me but I have never actually had it.

  17. FAY FOX says:

    Your photography is fantastic, You make everything look so alive, like you can reach out and touch it!
    Your recipe for ceviche, looks fabulous!

    I can’t wait to try it, [as soon as Ahi goes on sale again at my local mkt].

  18. Georgia Pellegrini says:

    There’s no better way to eat sushi grade tuna than in a simple salad with just the right flavorings. The addition of mango sounds great!

  19. Dana says:

    Wow, I must make this very very soon! Your pictures are wonderful!

  20. white on rice couple says:

    We feel so LUCKY to be in Colorado at the most beautiful time of year! Everything about the last week: workshop, kaweah, the kitchen, hiking, wildflowers, more kaweah and you guys made our mini-vacation one of the best. And this has to be one of our favorite posts because I love your fireworks photogrtraphs and wildflowers!!! The delicious tuna ceviche is an awesome reminder of the best lunch ever at L’Atleier .

  21. DesignWineandDine says:

    I LOVE tuna ceviche! The photo of all the ingredients on the board gets me excited. I wanted to make a tuna ceviche tonight but the store did not have the tuna – so fish tacos instead – but this is in my near future! Great picts!

  22. jenyu says:

    Keiko – I certainly hope you will come and visit us some day. First in summer, then in winter. Then repeat :)

    TKW – Ha ha ha! Miss M has a good BS detector ;)

    Wei Wei – if you’ve had sashimi, then ceviche should be no problem!

    Ronine – yeah, I believe that’s what the soaking does. There was a salad I had (too much of) in Chile that soaked the onions before tossing them into a salad.

    WoRC – we miss you guys already. Come back!

  23. Palaisdeslys says:

    Yours pictures are very beautiful, fantastic. Quelle délicatesse, on peut sentir la fragilité et la force à la fois de chaque élément qui les composent! Bravo!

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  25. Luke says:

    Thanks for the little trip to memory lane of Colorado and specifically of Boulder. I was doing a quick google search to make sure my idea for tuna ceviche was right and I stumbled on this recipe. You confirmed I was on the right path, with a few minor exceptions.

    Great pictures and recipe… you clearly have good taste. Speaking of tastes and Boulder, what do you think of breakfast at the Boulder cafe? Their stuffed french toast was a great way to remember the long night before…

  26. jenyu says:

    Luke – I’ve never had breakfast at the Boulder Cafe. I live in Nederland and I’m also not a huge fan of breakfast – so… that means my experience with breakfast in Boulder is pretty limited.

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