Make Ahead

Summer Ceviche

August  6, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is, or should be, a staple of grown-up summer vacation. It's a great way to make use of super-freshness: fish, tomatoes, and watermelon, especially. It's light and refreshing, and it keeps remarkably well in the fridge for a day or two. The watermelon is the surprise here, and it just piles on the summeriness, contrasting well, especially, if you turn up the jalopeño heat. —Eric Liftin

Test Kitchen Notes

Watermelon in a ceviche is not something you see every day. But it should be. Eric's recipe is the essence of summer: the fish soaks up the lime juice, taking on a citrusy brightness, and the sweetness of the tomato and watermelon juices mitigate the acid. Onion, jalapeno and cilantro remind you that the inspiration for this dish comes straight from Mexico. We cured the fish for about 45 minutes and drained most of the liquid before combining it with the tomato mixture, but these details are up to you. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mild fish, such as striped bass, swordfish, or halibut
  • 5 limes (just under 1 cup of juice)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (or vidalia), chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped finely (more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups real, fresh tomato, chopped into cubes about 1/4" or a bit bigger
  • 1 1/2 cups cucumber, chopped into cubes about 1/4" or a bit bigger
  • 1 cup watermelon, chopped into cubes about 1/4" or a bit bigger
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  1. Cut fish into flattened cubes, roughly 3/4" on a side. Mix in a bowl with the lime juice, onion, pepper, and salt (to taste, about 2 teaspoons of Maldon-style flakes). Make sure the fish is well-covered, and place in refrigerator to cure while you prepare the rest. Total cure time should be about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  2. While the fish cures, combine the tomato, cucumber, watermelon, cilantro, and oil in a bowl. Add some salt and pepper. Mix gently but thoroughly.
  3. After the fish is cured (all outside surfaces should be white and appear "cooked;" the fish should be sushi-quality), transfer it along with the lime mixture to the final serving bowl. Feel free to hold back some of the lime juice, which may seem excessive. If you prefer to be more cautious, you may cure the fish for a longer time in the lime juice in the fridge.
  4. Pour the tomato mixture onto the fish and stir gently but thoroughly to combine well. Serve immediately, if desired with a crispy, starchy food. Corn chips would be obvious, but Finn Crisp is our favorite. Drink white beer with lemon with this for complete summer nirvana feeling.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • brian
  • gverissimo
  • epicharis
  • ginampen

10 Reviews

brian April 17, 2020
In Costa Rica our caretaker has a secret. "Cook" (marinate the fish in lime juice for 15 minutes) then rinse fish and toss the juice. Make a fresh batch of marinade as per the recipe and add the fish, serve immediately. She also adds a 1/4 cup of ginger-ale. It is by far everyone's favorite! By rinsing the fish and using a new batch of marinade it takes the fishy taste away.
gverissimo February 2, 2019
Excellent and easy! Our only modification was to substitute mango for the watermelon.
gverissimo February 2, 2019
...oh, and 2x serrano for 1x jalapeño.
epicharis July 1, 2018
Very delicious on a sweltering summer evening. Serves two for dinner.
Heather July 20, 2015
Absolutely delicious and refreshing on a hot summer night. As an hors d'ouevre, serves many more than 4....... Recommend serving in chilled martini glasses for a lovely presentation.
ginampen August 5, 2013
Made this last weekend and it was fantastic! Wonderful blend of ingredients. I would recommend leaving yourself a little extra time for the fish to cure. I cut my fish into pretty small pieces and it took about an hour for it to turn white the entire way through. Thanks for the recipe!
cateler April 13, 2012
this looks like a beautiful marriage of ceviche and gazpacho ... summer can NOT come soon enough to try this!
inthisguise June 14, 2011
I've got the ingredients and am doing this tonight! Adding some shrimp, too.
ADRIENE September 22, 2009
This looks so refreshing and tasty!
Margaret August 16, 2009
I had a similar salad last summer but with shrimp and avocado. I've been dreaming of it ever since but hadn't seen a recipe. Thanks!