Contrary to the popular beliefs of trophy-trout fisherman, Montana’s native whitefish are not “trash fish” at all—they’re tender and delicious. Whitefish delivers a mild, versatile flavor that can be paired with any genre of cooking. This Peruvian-style ceviche with Leche de Tigre is a great way to serve ’em up fresh and with lots of color. No cooking required, just let the citrus-based “tiger’s milk” work its magic.
Ingredients (double for larger groups)
1 lb. fresh whitefish cut into bite-sized cubes, skin & bones removed
1 habañero pepper, minced (or milder pepper, like red jalapeño)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, stems removed, finely chopped
Leche de Tigre
1 ginger chunk, crushed
2-4 garlic cloves
1/2 celery stalk, smashed
1/4 cup cilantro, with stems, chopped
1 Tbsp. Aji Amarillo paste (optional—available at El Mercadito in Four Corners)
Rinse the fish in cold water and pat dry, then place in a large mixing bowl and season with salt.
Soak the sliced onion in ice-cold water for 5 minutes, then strain and set aside. This is an important step, as it makes the onion less potent so as not to overpower the ceviche.
Make the Leche de Tigre: in a separate bowl squeeze the limes and add the ginger, garlic, celery, and Aji Amarillo. Add the cilantro with stems. Let the marinade sit for 5-10 minutes.
Place a mesh strainer over the large bowl containing the fish, and pour the Leche de Tigre through it. Mix thoroughly. When the marinade touches the fish, the cooking begins, so this is best done when you’re about ready to serve. Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes.
Combine with the habeñero, onion, and stem-less cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.
Simon Peeeeeeterson (smug pronunciation) spends most of his summer evenings cooking extraordinary meals for custom fly-fishing trips at Montana Angler’s Boulder River Outpost, and prepares gourmet, riverside delights for trips down the Yellowstone and Smith rivers.