I am always trying to find new things to do with bergamots, but their intense bitterness makes them a bit of a problem in the kitchen. However, it occurred to me that their potent juice would work beautifully for curing fresh fish in the style of ceviche. Adding some of the fragrant zest, too, results in a beautifully aromatic ceviche that fuses Latin American and Mediterranean flavors, the latter a nod to the bergamot’s culinary roots. You can substitute bergamot juice with lemon and lime, or even yuzu for a more Japanese feel. If you struggle to slice the salmon, place it in the freezer for 20–30 minutes to firm it up beforehand. You can either serve this as a main course with some brown rice or in crunchy lettuce leafcups’ as a starter or snack.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter or snack
¼ red onion, very thinly sliced
2 generous pinches of salt
300g very fresh (sushi-grade) salmon fillet
juice of ½ large bergamot (to give 70ml)
3 teaspoons finely grated bergamot zest
1 red chili, halved lengthways and thinly sliced (deseeded if you want less heat)
2cm piece of ginger root, grated
1 garlic clove, very thinly sliced
½ teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon very good-quality olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
1½ tablespoons pine nuts
1 ripe avocado
10g coriander leaves
How To Prepare
Soak the red onion in very cold water, just enough to cover, with a generous pinch of salt, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Meanwhile, slice the salmon very thinly. Sprinkle with another generous pinch of salt and set aside for 10 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
In a small jug, whisk together the bergamot juice and zest with the chili, ginger, garlic, sugar, and olive oil. Place the salmon in a bowl and pour over the bergamot mixture. Mix well, then refrigerate for 10 minutes, then remove from the fridge, add the fennel and soaked red onion and mix well, then leave for a further 5 minutes at room temperature.
Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, then add the pine nuts. Toast in the dry pan, shaking it regularly until they are lightly golden and fragrant (don’t take your eye off them, as they burn easily!). Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Halve, stone, and cut the avocado into roughly 2cm dice. Mix the diced flesh gently with the salmon. Arrange the salmon on a plate, then scatter over the coriander and toasted pine nuts. Serve with brown rice or in lettuce wraps.