This seabass ceviche with Peruvian black mint is an effortless yet exquisite plate of vibrant, tangy, minty and herby deliciousness.
What is Peruvian Black Mint?
The Peruvian black mint, known locally as Huacatay, is a herb with minty, aniseed and citrusy aromas, and very popular not just in Peru but many parts of South America. You can read more about it here.
This is the first summer that I’m growing it (2019), and I absolutely adore the thing! The plant itself is a prolific grower, and I can’t seem to use it quickly enough!
As soon as I got the first scent, I knew that I was going to be using it in ceviche. What better way to enjoy a herb than using it fresh? Here, the lime juice complements the citrusy nature of the huacatay to perfection.
What is Ceviche?
Pronounced say-vee-chay (or say-bee-chay in Spain), this is a dish of raw fish or seafood cured in citrus juice, whether lime or lemon, and flavoured with herbs and chilli.
Ceviche is of Latin American in origin; specifically, Peru. It hails from the coastal region, and in its most basic form, has only raw fish, lime juice and chilli (pepper).
Is the Fish in Ceviche Raw?
Yes and no! In ceviche, the fish turns an opaque colour due to the citric acid (in lime and lemon juice) in the marinade, and is no longer that translucent, raw colour.
Depending on who you speak to, some people say the lime juice cooks the fish, others will say that only heat cooks anything properly!
There is truth in both. The citric acid denatures (changes) the protein in the fish in a similar way that heat does. However, it does not kill all the bacteria (not all bacteria is bad though, remember?) in the meat.
But as long as you are using fresh fish (or frozen fish from a quality supplier), you are perfectly fine to consume meat that has been “cooked” in acid.
Not into Raw Fish?
Don’t fret. Just lightly sear the fish pieces until cooked. Then just toss them with the marinade.
Peruvian Black Mint Ceviche Recipe
- Is easy.
- Is great for entertaining.
- Makes a great amuse-bouche between courses.
I’ve kept our Peruvian black mint ceviche recipe very simple. In fact, if you look at the other ceviche recipes on this site (gallery below), you’ll see that they all tend to be that way.
This is because I like my ceviche to have a “clean” taste to it, allowing one to enjoy every single ingredient individually, with each mouthful.
In this Huacatay ceviche, the main players are:
- sea bass
- Peruvian black mint
- chilli (pepper)
- lime juice
It was very tempting to bulk it up with avocado, cucumbers and other stuff, but I really, really, wanted the huacatay to shine through. Avocado, when stirred into ceviche and salads, tends to mess things up slightly, with its creamy nature. So, I compromised and served the avocado on the side.
To complement the ceviche, not be a part of it.
What’s the best fish for Ceviche with Huacatay?
Sea bass is the Peruvian favourite, as used in today’s ceviche with Peruvian black mint. However, any white fish will do perfectly, as will prawns (shrimp), scallops, and even lobster and crab meat.
Some people will advise against oily fish but one of my favourite ceviche recipes is the Fusion Larb Salmon Ceviche on LinsFood. The salmon works so well with the Latin/Thai marinade in that recipe.
Chillies (chili peppers) in ceviche
The type and number of your chillies will determine how much of a kick your ceviche has.
At the time of making this recipe (July 2019), neither of my yellow Peruvian chillies were… well, yellow!
So I went for a couple of bird’s eye type chillies, which produced quite a bit of heat in this ceviche. If you don’t like heat, go for a jalapeño, or even just a green bell pepper, for the fruity flavour, with none of the heat.
Peruvian Black Mint Substitute
If you can’t find huacatay, just use equal amounts of coriander and mint leaves. They are not the perfect substitute, but coriander is a staple ceviche herb for many, and together with the mint, will lift any ceviche to another level.
How long to marinate Ceviche with Peruvian Black Mint?
To some extent, this is a matter of preference. I like to “cook” my ceviche for the briefest of time. Essentially, I mix it all up, then serve it. By the time it gets eaten, the fish (or any seafood) has had about 5 minutes of the citrus dance.
If in doubt, go for 10-15 minutes to begin with, then adjust to your taste.
At 10 minutes, the fish is probably at its best state, not overdone, and not having any of the rawness associated with uncooked fish. Some fish do in fact need a longer time, like salmon for eg. Even swordfish, cut thickly, does better with being marinated closer to 10 minutes.
Anything more than 15 minutes, is, to me, overkill. The seafood becomes a solid opaque and starts to feel cottony in your mouth.
How to serve Ceviche with Peruvian Black Mint?
It makes a great starter, or as mentioned above, if you’re doing courses, perfect as an amuse-bouche.
As it’s a starter, you don’t need any accompaniments, as you want to keep your diners hungry. Corn and sweet potato are popular accompaniments though, if you really must.
What I do is just have some bread on the table to soak up the leche de tigre, the ceviche sauce. You can read a brief write-up on leche de tigre on the scallop ceviche post here. A full post coming soon!
Right then, shall we get our aprons on? Any questions, just drop me a line.
More Ceviche Recipes on LinsFood
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And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor.
Ceviche with Peruvian Black Mint (Huacatay)
- 1 large red onion
- 1 – 2 green chillies to taste
- 1 large handful Peruvian Black Mint
- 8 small cherry type tomatoes
- 5 limes, juice extracted
- 1 pinch of salt
- dash of freshly ground black pepper
- 500 g seabass
- 1 avocado sliced
- some finely chopped Peruvian black mint
- Get a large bowl for everything.
- Halve, then thinly slice the onion. Place in the bowl.
- Finely chop the green chillies, and add them to the bowl.
- Finely chop the Peruvian black mint leaves and thin stalks. Use the thicker stalks. Add to the bowl.
- Chop the tomatoes into tiny pieces and add to the bowl, including any juices.
- Squeeze the lime juice onto all the chopped ingredients in the bowl.
- Add a pinch of salt and a dash of freshly ground black pepper and stir everything up to mix.
- Now, we do the fish. Remove any dark meat on the underside of the fish, we want white meat for the cleanest taste. Then cut up the fish into little cubes, about 1cm (under half an inch) all across.
- Add the fish to the marinade and mix well (with a gentle touch) with 2 spoons, lifting up the ingredients, being careful not to squash the fish and tomatoes.
- Taste, and add more salt if necessary.
- Divide on 4 plates, bowls or glasses, with the sliced avocado alongside, and an extra sprinkle of Huacatay and black pepper.