Boozy Ceviche with Adobo Verde

Servings: 41/2 cups, serving 8 to 10 as a starter


  • 1/2head garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
  • 4 to 5freshserrano chiles, stems removed
  • 1 largebunch cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped (about 2 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 largebunch flat-leaf parsley, thick bottom stems cut off, roughly chopped (about 2 cups loosely packed)
  • 1cup olive oil
  • 2 generousteaspoons salt
  • 3/4cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds pounds “sashimi-quality” skinless, boneless fish fillets—my favorites are Alaskan halibut, ahi tuna and aqua-cultured Kona Kampachi (a type of yellowtail)—cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1/4cup silver tequila
  • 2(7 ounces total) small “pickle” cucumbers (the kind you get in the farmers’ market) or Persian (baby) cucumbers, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2ripe large avocados, pitted, flesh scooped from skin and then cut into cubes
  • Lettuce leaves (butter lettuce works great here) for garnish


Make the herb seasoning. Set a large (10-inch) skillet over medium heat. Lay in the garlic and chiles and roast, turning regularly, until soft and browned in spots, about 10 minutes for the chiles and 15 minutes for the garlic.  (If you’re really short on time, you can soften them in a microwave:  Cut a slit in each garlic clove and combine with the chiles in a microwaveable bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave at 100% for 30 seconds.)  Cool until handleable, then slip off the garlic’s papery husks.  Roughly chop everything (no need to remove the chile seeds). In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic and chiles with the cilantro, parsley, olive oil and salt.  Process, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary, until nearly smooth (it should look a little like pesto)  Transfer to a pint-size jar and store, covered in the refrigerator, where it will last several months.

Finish the ceviche. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice and the fish.  Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.  Stir in ½ cup of the herb seasoning and the tequila.  (Cover and refrigerate the remainder of the herb mixture for another preparation.) Add cucumber, and stir to combine.  To blend the flavors, cover and refrigerate for a few minutes (for best results no more than an hour).  Taste and season with a little more lime juice or salt if you think necessary, gently stir in the avocado (save out a little for garnish if you want), then serve on lettuce leaf-lined plates or martini glasses.

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