This Swordfish, Raspberry and Ají Limo Ceviche has become a firm favourite with my clients this year. Autumn may be my favourite season for all sorts of reasons but summertime, with its colourful and fragrant bounty, is pretty hard to beat!
Today’s recipe came about because of the Ají Limo, a chilli I was determined to use in a ceviche before the summer was out!
Every summer, I grow a variety of chilli plants, and this one was no exception. Despite a miserable few months, weather wise, my chillies have done rather well and I’m just in love with the 3 Peruvian varieties that I’ve grown for the very first time: the Amarillo, the Limo and the Omnicolour.
As soon as I tasted the Ají Limo (also known as Lemon Drop pepper), I knew I had to use it fresh in a salad or better still, in a ceviche. The lemony flavour, in my opinion, would go so well with fresh seafood that requires minimum or no cooking at all. So, it all began with the Lemon Drop Pepper! And if you are familiar with Peruvian food, you know that it is in fact, a favourite ceviche ingredient.
But all summer, I’d also been toying with the idea of using another berry in a savoury salad, like these two, both with strawberries:
After ruling out strawberries and the usual mango, watermelon and pineapple, I finally settled on raspberries. Raspberries have a beautiful complex aroma: citrus, floral, grassy and even a touch of clove. I figured the citrus part of the raspberry would just love the lemon chilli and the lime juice for the marinade! So, that was that!
What next? Besides the fish, the rest of the ingredients all play a colourful and tasty part to the main ensemble with a mix of sweet, fresh and just a hint of texture.
The final flavour of this Swordfish, Raspberry and Ají Limo Ceviche marinade is tinglingly delicious! It’s got so many aromas and flavours going on – tart, sweet, spicy and grassy. I love dipping some fresh bread into the “sauce”, what the Peruvians call leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk.
Leche de tigre is the marinade sauce or milk that you get after making a ceviche. Some serve it along with the fish, some serve it separately in a glass. And each Peruvian chef has his own recipe, I know a Peruvian chef of Japanese ancestry (there are many Japanese in Peru) who uses dashi to make his ceviche. Dashi is Japanese stock.
So I had the marinade sorted out, next came the fish. Honestly? I got swordfish because that, and salmon were the only 2 that were available fresh when I was first playing with this recipe. But that’s ok, because I do love swordfish for its meaty, creamy flavour. You can use any firm white fish you like for this; while I love salmon, I don’t think the subtle flavours of the marinade here will work with its strong constitution. For salmon, take a look at the Larb Salmon Ceviche, a Thai-Latin American recipe that was inspired by my last trip to Thailand, below:
Handy Hints on making the Swordfish, Raspberry and Ají Limo Ceviche
Make sure it’s super, super fresh! And when you slice it, you only want the white part of the fish meat, none of the brown, which will mar the final, clean flavour. If you can’t get swordfish, any non fatty fish will do, monkfish would be awesome in this.
If you can’t get them fresh, frozen ones will do too, especially for the marinade. For the ones that are going to be chopped up, don’t worry if they fall apart, that’ll work perfectly fine in the whole ceviche.
Here, as mentioned, I’m using the Lemon Drop pepper. I only have these because I’m growing them, which reminds me, I must start freezing some now! They are not a common chilli outside South America, so if you don’t have access to these, any chilli of your choice will do, red or green. Chillies are naturally fruity, so whatever chilli you decide to use will be perfectly fine here.
Don’t Like Raw Fish?
Turn this into an escabeche by lightly frying the fish pieces in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Leave to cool to room temperature, then pour the marinade all over and serve! Easy peasy.
Swordfish and Raspberry Ceviche