Starter — Ceviche + Cocktails

Inspired by our recent trip to Marseille...

Inspired by our recent trip to Marseille in the South of France, where ceviche was a popular starter, and no doubt guided by the restaurants' close proximity to the ocean, our recipe is a version created from an amalgamation of memories, and photographs on our phone, but the flavour was something we had to remember - citrus, fish, salt, olive oil. Our measurements were experimental, and our method below is loose, but aren't all the best recipes? A little of this, more of that, one more taste, perfect.

To accompany such a delicate flavour, and to begin the festivities with a roar, we served our ceviche alongside a round of French 75s. Not for the light hearted, they definitely pack a punch: gin, syrup and champagne - joyful pairings, and with the addition of lemon juice they work rather well with a platter of fresh fish. So, to get your guests in the mood, here is our recommendation for a quick Christmas entree, with no cooking required!

FRENCH 75 (one serving)

1 lemon
1½ oz. gin
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1 cup ice cubes
2 oz. dry sparkling wine, such as brut Champagne, chilled

Step 1
Using a zester or paring knife, slice peel from 1 lemon in a long, thin spiral. Reserve lemon for another use and set peel aside.

Step 2
Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 cup of ice cubes and shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled Champagne flute and top with dry sparkling wine.

Step 3
Garnish the drink with lemon twist and serve immediately.
Astier de Villatte Adrien Cocktail Glass

(Starter size for 4-6 guests)

fresh snapper or white flesh fish
lime juice
olive oil
red radishes
green seedless grapes

Step 1
Finely slice radishes in a mandolin, place a single layer over a platter.

Step 2
Slice fish across grain, into small-ish slices. Layer over radish.

Step 3
Slice green grapes, abandoning the curved tops, go for a flat and juicy side up. Layer over fish.

Step 4
Squeeze plenty of lime juice over everything (the more the better), generously drizzle with olive oil, season well with salt. Finish with a garnishing of lime zest. The fish may need a few minutes to soak up the lime and oil.

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