Jolly Cookathon: yellowtail ceviche with fresh peas, avocado, chilli and lime

Heard about the Jolly Cookathon? It’s our latest community challenge, in celebration of eating together. Entries close on 20 November, get all the details and join in, jolly friend.

Vanessa Marx is the 26 year old head chef at Dear Me in Cape Town. Her dishes have a signature light style, born from body and earth conscious living. Here we feature her recipe for yellowtail ceviche. Did you know ceviche is fresh, raw fish prepared with citrus juice? Perfect for summer.


800g fresh yellowtail fillet, skinned, deboned and cut away from the bloodline
100g fresh peas
1 red chilli
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large avocado
20g fresh coriander, washed
juice of 4 limes
mixed salad leaves, to serve
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 additional limes, quartered (for serving)


Using a sharp filleting knife, slice the 2 yellowtail fillets into 1 mm slices. Try to slice at an angle. This will give you a bigger surface area for each slice. Arrange the slices of fish on a large plate or platter.

Blanch your peas in boiling, salted water for 20 seconds only (no more). Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into a pre-prepared bowl filled with iced water. This will prevent them from cooking further, and will help them retain their colour. Leave them in the ice water for 2 minutes until chilled, and then strain off the ice water.

Chop the chilli very finely and mix into the olive oil. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pip and skin, before cutting each half into cubes.

Arrange the avocado, coriander leaves and blanched peas over the slices of ceviche, before dressing generously with the chilli oil and lime juice. Add a handful of mixed greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the lime quarters.

Chef’s note: I pride myself on using only SASSI green-listed fish, and find yellowtail a perfect candidate for this dish. If it’s not available try angelfish, which also works well.

Serves 4

Vanessa’s ocean friendly ceviche recipe is from Taking it Easy, Andy Fenner’s brilliant new compilation cook book with home entertaining favourites from 20 of South Africa’s leading chefs.