There are few things I enjoy more than knowing that a big bowl of ceviche is waiting for me in the fridge when I get peckish. Rick Bayless, bless him, makes some of the best ceviche I’ve ever had, so when I get a hankering for some lime-cured seafood, I slice and dice my way to his classic Frontera Grill recipe. But each time I polish off a serving of ceviche, I peer down at the marinating juices still left in my bowl and wish that I had a way to repurpose all that limey, briny goodness.
In Peru, a shot of leche de tigre—that is, the juice leftover from marinating ceviche—is often served along with the ceviche or before your meal as a sort of amuse bouche. The notion of drinking the juice gave me the idea to pair it with beer and a few other savory flavors to create a fresh take on the michelada. Fair warning: there’s a definite salinity to this cocktail, so fresh fish lovers probably won’t be lining up to get a taste. But if you love a good ceviche tostada on a warm fall afternoon, do yourself a favor and tip off that leche de tigre, add a splash of seasoning and top with some Negro Modelo—or good ol’ Shiner Bock if you’re in Texas.
Frontera Grill Ceviche
• 1 lb sashimi-grade skinless white fish (halibut, snapper and bass all work well)
• 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice, preferably from key limes
• 1 small white onion
• 2 or 3 serranos, depending on your preference
• 1/4 manzanillo olives
• 1 large ripe tomato
• 1/4 cup loosely packed cilanro
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp sugar
1. Cut fish into 1/2″ cubes. Try to be careful about this, as larger chunks will take much longer to “cook” in the lime juice. Chop onion and tomato in 1/4″ pieces and roughly chop and de-stem cilantro. Finely chop serranos and olives—a food processor works well for this, so you don’t have to get your fingers all spicy.
2. Combine fish, lime juice and onion in a large bowl. The fish should float freely in the juice; if not, add more. Cover and refrigerate for three to four hours, until the fish appears completely opaque.
3. Add serranos, olives, tomato, cilantro and olive oil to the fish. Stir well, then season with salt to taste (about a teaspoon) and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve—preferably within a few hours.
4. To harvest the leche de tigre, simply strain some of the marinade liquid into a resealable container and refrigerate.
Leche de Tigre Michelada
• 2 oz. leche de tigre
• dash of worchestershire sauce
• dash of soy sauce
• dash (or three!) of hot sauce
• dark beer like Negro Modelo or Shiner Bock
• lime and serrano for garnish
1. Fill glass with crushed ice, top with leche de tigre.
2. Add one dash of worchestershire sauce, one dash of soy sauce and hot sauce to taste. Stir.
3. Top with beer and garnish with a lime wheel and slice of serrano pepper.
*Add an ounce or two of tequila or mezcal if you want to go hard. The strong flavor of the leche de trigre can easily stand up to a bit more booze.