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Ceviche 1.jpg

Mexican-Style Ceviche

This recipe was originally created for A Series of Unfortunate Cooking Lessons, based on the book series by Lemony Snicket. If you are the type of person who enjoys delicious food and interesting conversation, I suggest you cook the recipes I've created for this this series rather than reading the books, which are filled with badly-prepared food and unpleasant dining companions.

Serves 6 as a generous appetizer or light meal.


Ceviche, made in the Adventure Kitchen.

Ceviche, made in the Adventure Kitchen.

About 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (from about 5 limes), plus a little more if needed

1 small yellow onion, or half of a medium one, diced small (1/4-inch pieces)

1/2 pound very fresh firm-fleshed ocean fish such as halibut, bass or snapper, skin removed

1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced small (1/4-inch pieces)

4 Tablespoons minced cilantro leaves, plus a few more sprigs for garnish

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 jalapeno or 1-2 serrano chiles

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more if needed

3 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice

1 small ripe avocado

Tortilla chips for serving


1.  Combine the lime juice and diced onion in a medium non-reactive (glass or stainless steel) bowl that can be covered. Cut the fish into 1/2-inch pieces and add them to the bowl. Toss with the lime juice mixture to be sure all the fish is covered by the juice (if not, add more juice). Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, stirring once or twice to be sure all the fish is evenly covered with the juice. Over time, the juice will give the fish a cooked, opaque appearance. After 4 hours, break a cube of fish open. If the inside still appears somewhat raw, let it marinate for another hour and check again. 

2. When the initial lime marinade is finished, drain the juice, leaving the fish and onions behind. In a separate large bowl, combine the tomato, cilantro and olive oil. 

3. Mince the chile(s) very fine and add half to the bowl with the tomatoes. (Keep the other half handy to add later if needed.) 

4. Add the fish and onion mixture to the large bowl with the tomato mixture. Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons orange juice and 1/3 teaspoon salt and stir gently to combine everything.

5. Taste. If it tastes a tad to strongly of lime, add the other 1/2 Tablespoon of orange juice. Taste again and add a pinch more salt if needed to balance flavors.

6. Just before serving, dice the avocado into small pieces and add them to the ceviche. Stir gently to combine everything. Your Ceviche is ready! You can set out the large bowl and allow everyone to serve themselves from it, or else you can dish individual servings into small dishes with a couple tortilla chips placed decoratively in each. Either way, garnish the ceviche with the cilantro sprigs and enjoy. 

Based on the recipe for Classic Ceviche in Rick Bayless' excellent book Mexico One Plate at a Time. The original recipe makes twice this amount, so if you are making this for a larger gathering by all means double it.