Seviche of Spanish Mackerel

Spanish mackerel that weigh about a pound are perfect for grilling, baking, or broiling, but the oldest Lowcountry recipe we have for them is caveached, or cured in the West Indian manner. In this modern version, the flour and frying of the older receipts have been eliminated; the “cooking” is done by the citrus. The old recipes were formulas for preserving fish in a world without refrigeration. Both the cooking and the breading are unnecessary today.


  • 2 ¾ - to 1 - pound Spanish mackerel, filleted, or ¾ to 1 pound fillets, with the skin
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin rings
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 large tomato, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped


Cut the fillets into 1-inch squares and put them in a nonreactive container such as a glass casserole dish with a lid. Add the onions and salt and pepper. Cover with the lime juice and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain off the lime juice, add the remaining ingredients, toss the seviche, correct the seasoning, and allow to come to room temperature. This is delicious as is or served with avocado, called “alligator pears” locally because of their pebbly skins.