Ceviche of red mullet with ras al hanout

Ceviche of red mullet with ras al hanout

New Middle Eastern Food
4 as a starter or 8 as part of a mezze selection
Mark Roper

You would be hard pressed to find a simpler dish than ceviche, the traditional Mexican technique of ‘cooking’ fish with the acids from citrus fruit — in particular, limes. You can use this method with pretty much any seafood — all white fish work well, as do oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, and even molluscs such as scallops.

Here we use red mullet, a lovely delicate fish that is enormously popular around the Mediterranean. Go to a good fishmonger to make sure that they are very fresh. If you feel up to the task, clean and fillet the fish yourself, otherwise ask the fishmonger to do it for you. Explain what you are preparing, and ask the fishmonger to be as gentle as possible so as not to crush the delicate flesh. If you cannot find red mullet, use any other good white fish — whiting or garfish would work well.


Quantity Ingredient
8 x 150g red mullet
2 tomatoes, seeded and very finely diced
2 mild green chillies, seeded, scraped and roughly shredded
2 shallots, very finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
1/3 cup chervil leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 limes, juiced
85ml good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 level teaspoon Ras al hanout
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
pomegranate seeds, to garnish (optional)
bread and salad, to serve


  1. First, scale the red mullet. Hold it under running water and use your thumb to run against the scales from tail to head. They are delicate and come away very easily. Then use a really sharp knife and carefully slice away the two fillets from the bones. Use tweezers to remove any little bones, being as gentle as you can so as not to mush the flesh.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, chillies, shallots, coriander and chervil. Whisk the garlic paste with the lime juice, olive oil and ras al hanout. Pour the marinade into the bowl and mix everything together well. Taste and add a little extra salt if necessary.
  3. Spoon half the marinade into the bottom of a shallow dish, spreading it out evenly, and lay the fish fillets on top, skin side up. Then spoon the rest of the marinade over the fish so they are completely covered. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with plenty of warm crusty bread, and perhaps a tomato salad.
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