Recipe: Tuna Ceviche with Charred Sweetcorn Salsa

In this bonus website exclusive recipe, Ruth Pretty makes a showstopping ceviche dish with all the trimmings.

Words and Recipe: Ruth Pretty  Photos: Murray Lloyd

Chef Josh Emett introduced me to the beauty of this style of ceviche. I’ve used tuna but kingfish, trevally, snapper or salmon would all be great substitutes depending on seasonality.


Serves: 8

800g tuna, skin off
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
6 to 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced into 3
12 to 16 slices Zucchini Pickle (see recipe and make at least 24 hours ahead)
Charred Sweetcorn Salsa (see recipe)
Tarragon Dressing (see recipe)
Creamy Goats’ Cheese
Celery, French tarragon and basil leaves, to garnish


Slice tuna very thinly and lay out onto sharing platters. Lightly brush tuna with lime juice. Sprinkle salt onto tomato slices and scatter these over tuna, followed by Zucchini Pickle and Charred Sweetcorn Salsa. Drizzle with enough Tarragon Dressing to very lightly coat. (Reserve remainder of dressing to use in another dish). Using a teaspoon, form very small balls of Creamy Goats’ Cheese and randomly place onto tuna. Finally scatter celery, basil and tarragon leaves as garnish.

Zucchini Pickle 

This recipe, adapted from Digby Law’s Pickle & Chutney Cookbook, is a fantastic way to use up the zucchini glut.

Makes: approx. 800g.


550g zucchini
150g red onions, peeled
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt
½ cup ice cubes
500ml cider vinegar
200g sugar
1½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dill seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder

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Slice zucchini and red onion very finely – a mandolin makes the task straightforward. Place into a large, shallow dish, add salt and toss to coat. Add ice cubes and enough cold water to cover. Stir to combine ingredients then leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until zucchini is slightly salty and softened. Drain and remove any remaining ice cubes then lay out vegetables on a clean tea towel to dry (excess water dilutes the flavour).  Place vegetables into a large bowl.

In a pot over a high heat place vinegar, sugar, mustard, mustard seeds, dill and turmeric. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside until lukewarm. If pickling liquid is too hot the vegetables will become limp, however, if pickling mixture is too cold the vegetables will not take on all the spice flavours.

Pour pickling liquid over vegetables, stir and transfer to sterilized jars. Cover and refrigerate for at least a day before serving. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 months.

Murray Lloyd Iphone photos

Charred Sweetcorn Salsa


2 sweetcorn cobs, husked
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
½ red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice


Preheat chargrill or a heavy based fry pan to medium-hot. Brush corn with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place onto chargrill or in hot frypan; turn and cook for 1-2 minutes on each turn until many of the kernels are charred or browned.

Cool, strip kernels from cob and place into a small bowl with the chilli and lime juice.

Creamy Goats’ Cheese


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130g fresh, soft goats’ cheese
¼ cup cream
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Into a small bowl place goats’ cheese, cream, salt and pepper and mix with a fork until combined.

Tarragon Dressing

Makes: 120ml.


1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped French tarragon
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
75ml olive oil


Place all ingredients except oil into a bowl and using a small whisk combine ingredients. Slowly pour in oil and whisk until emulsified. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.

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