How to Make Ludo Lefebvre's Red Snapper Ceviche
This simple dish is "spring on a plate."
All it takes to make ceviche is a fresh fish—never frozen—lemon juice, and an array of vegetables, which you can choose for yourself. While Lefebvre opts for cucumber, red onion, and jalapeno, ceviche compliments corn and sweet potato, or avocado and cilantro. Lefebvre says that red onion, however, is one of his favorite vegetables to incorporate into this dish because “it’s a little less spicy and the color is beautiful,” plus it imparts the ceviche with a crunchy texture.
Instead of slicing up the cucumber, Lefebvre juices it. He then adds champagne vinegar, white balsamic, as well as a touch of xanthan gum to the juice to thicken it, before blending the mixture together.
Lefebvre’s choice of fish is red snapper, but he also recommends fluke. According to the chef, you don’t need to a “high-end quality of fish” to make tasty ceviche.
"Just make sure the fish is fresh," explains Lefebvre. "When I think of ceviche, I think of very cheap fish that you really cannot serve raw because of the texture."
This classic ceviche recipe, for instance, can be made with snapper, halibut, or bass and makes a great party appetizer because it can be marinated a day ahead.
Lefebvre marinates his fish in Meyer lemon juice for just five minutes after slicing it into small cubes. You should see the fish become a little bit whiter during this process because it’s cooking in the lemon juice.
While there isn’t much actual cooking involved in this dish, the real skill comes when you put it all together. Lefebvre’s strategy makes the process simple: Add your marinated fish the bottom of the bowl, pour the cucumber juice over the top, and then garnish.
The garnishes are extremely important for this ceviche: Lefebvre tops his with onions (for that crunch, remember), sliced jalapeno, cilantro, borage flowers (which have an oyster-like flavor), pea tendril, wood sorrel, and a drizzle of olive oil.
That might seem like a lot of decoration, but each vegetable adds another dimension of flavor to this light, refreshing dish.