One of the best seviches I ever had was eaten one morning when, with a massive hangover, I crept into the kitchen at Ventana in Big Sur. Pedro, one of the Mexican cooks, saw my condition and made me a shrimp, lettuce, lime juice, warm salsa, and shrimp stock mixture in a large wineglass. I recovered in half an hour. This seviche is the one I developed for the opening menu of the Santa Fe Bar & Grill.


  • 2 pounds skinned fish fillets, rock or ling cod, salmon, halibut, red snapper, haddock, bass, or grouper
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 fresh serrano chilies, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red hot chili, seeded, finely chopped
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 10 lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 8 lime wedges
  • 12 Niçoise olives


Cut the fish fillets into ⅜-inch cubes. Combine the fish, ½ cup of the lemon juice, the lime juice, chilies, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the salt, and pepper in a glass, enamel, or stainless-steel bowl and marinate for 3 to 6 hours.

Toss the red onion slices in the remaining ½ cup lemon juice and marinate for 3 hours, tossing 2 or 3 times during the marination.

Put ¼ cup of the seviche marinade into a bowl and whisk in the remaining olive oil.

Roll up the lettuce leaves and cut into very fine strips. Toss the lettuce in the marinade dressing and put some lettuce in the center of each cold plate. Put the seviche on top and the salsa on top of the seviche. Place the onions around the lettuce and garnish with the lime wedges and olives.