Alfred Portale's Striped Bass Ceviche
by scott feldman
Wild striped bass ceviche with avocado, orange, lime, and pineapple emulsion.
An excellent chef and longtime friend, Alfred Portale’s love for the East End is as clear as the water at his favorite clamming spot in Napeague, “where my friends and I would go and dig for hours,” he says. Other local food favorites include Block Island swordfish and the wild striped bass he uses to make this zesty ceviche.
What are your go-to spots for food in the Hamptons?
ALFRED PORTALE: Rowdy Hall is great for drinks, and they make the best burgers on the East End. And I always have to make a stop at Nick & Toni’s—I’m a big fan of Joseph Realmuto’s cooking.
What is your favorite East End summer memory?
AP: Sunset dinners on Louse Point Beach with my family and friends, and, of course, steaks and lobsters grilled over a bonfire.
Can you share some secrets to a great summer dinner party?
AP: For me, it’s all about spending quality time with family and friends. Parties should go late into the night, with good wine, good food, kids falling asleep on parents’ laps, and all the dirty dishes should be left to deal with in the morning.
What brought you out to the Eastern End of Long Island in the first place?
AP: I actually owe my introduction to my family members, who convinced me to buy into a home with them so we’d all have a place to congregate during the summertime. They eventually moved West and I was “stuck” with the house to myself. Turned out to be a sweet deal.
With restaurants in New York and Miami, any chance of something out East?
AP: Tom Colicchio beat me to it. I say that partly in jest, but truly, East End has always been a place for me to be to get away from it all, and I’d kind of like to keep it that way.
What inspired you to first cook?
AP: Henri-Paul Pellaprat’s cookbook, L’Art Culinaire Moderne. At the time, I was studying jewelry design and my career wasn’t going anywhere. I was flipping through the book and saw images of cold buffets from the ‘30s—tables piled high with chaud-froid, galantines, aspic, tallow sculptures, ice sculptures—edible art at its prime.
If you could cook with anyone, who would it be?
AP: I think I’m going to get my dream kitchen experience this fall when I cook with friends Daniel Humm, Tom Colicchio, David Bouley and others in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation. A lot of rowdy, talented chefs in one kitchen—what’s not to love?
Wild Striped Bass Ceviche - Serves 4
12 oz. Wild Montauk striped bass, skin removed and diced into 1-inch cubes (or substitute with 1 lb. medium prawns or 12 fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut lengthwise)
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄2 cup pineapple juice
2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
1 small jalapeno pepper, sliced thinly into rounds on a mandolin (include seeds)
1⁄4 red onion, diced Avocado purée (or substitute 1 avocado, thinly sliced)
3 white or red radishes, diced 5 sprigs cilantro for garnish
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Place fish (or shrimp) in the bottom of a small dish, and cover with orange and lime juice. Let “cook” in the juice for at least 2 hours (and up to 4 hours).
Combine the pineapple juice, orange segments, sliced jalapeno, diced radish, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and gently toss together. Next, drain fish and discard marinade. In a small bowl, combine the fish with the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Spread a little avocado purée down the center of chilled plates. Arrange the fish on top. Distribute all the ingredients evenly over fish. Garnish with cilantro.
1 avocado—peeled and stone removed
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ small jalapeno pepper with seeds
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons water
Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.