Ceviche, also known as Cebiche or seviche, which involves immersing delicate raw fish in aromatic citrus juices, is essentially fish that is slowly “cooked” by marinating in the acid of citrus juice.
Like carpaccio, ceviche is a raw fish recipe; this is why it’s very important to use extremely fresh and high-quality fish to prepare it.
This recipe has been adapted from the one my friend Andrés Navarro has given to me.
The citrus-marinated seafood dish originated in Peru and is thought to be a development from Spanish escabeche, which is a vinegar-marinated dish.
But in reality, ceviche is so popular that every city, town, village, and family throughout Central and South America and Mexico make their own unique ceviche recipe using local fish and their favourite ingredients. One bite, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Ceviche can also be made with chillies, avocados, mangoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, or finely diced onion.
As long as you’ve got a mega fresh fish, it’s an absolute dream and delight to make and eat. Easy, healthy and flavourful! It is so very filling. I really truly absolutely loved this.
Enjoy it on a hot day—or anytime you want to daydream about South American travels.
- 500 g Fish fillet - fresh filet cut into 1 cm strips Salmon or tilápia or your favourite fish
- 1-1.5 cup Lemon juice - and/or Lime - fresh from about 8-10 lemons and/or limes, plus more for serving
- 1 Onion - Red sliced very thinly into half-moons
- 2 cloves Garlic - thinly chopped
- Garlic powder - optional to taste
- Paprika - optional to taste
- Parsley - fresh chopped, optional to taste
- Green onions - fresh chopped, optional to taste
- Cilantro - fresh chopped, stems removed, optional to taste
- Make sure the fish is as fresh as possible! Once you’ve got your fresh fish back home, ice it down. Place it in the freezer or on ice for just a bit (enough to be firm, but NOT freeze). This will make it easier to work with later.
- Remove the skin and bones from the fish, as well as the bloodline before cutting it up. The bloodline is the dark red portion of the fillet; if left on the fillet, your ceviche will have a very fishy flavour.
- Wash and dry it and have a sharp knife for slicing.
- Cut each fillet into long, narrow pieces that are about 5cm/2” wide. Rinse your knife under cold water between each slice; this keeps the delicate fish flesh intact.
- Now you can make the chunks. Rather than chopping straight down with the knife, hold the blade at a 45-degree angle to make the slices. Be sure to follow the muscle fibre of the fish.
- Keep the slices about 0.6-1 cm/0.25-0.4” thick.
- Put in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) container and then add freshly squeezed seedless lemon and/or lime juice until the fish is totally submerged, and toss the fish until everything is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate until the fish is opaque and “cooked” through. This usually takes about 3-4 hours. Very large pieces of fish can take longer to marinate fully.
- In the meanwhile, scald the sliced onion twice.
- Just throw boiled water on it, leave 5 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water, drain and repeat the process. Or leave the sliced onion soaked in salt ice water for at least 30 minutes. This will give it a smoother flavour and reduces their bitterness and pungency.
- When ready to serve, drain off the excess lemon and/or lime juice and gently mix in the remaining ingredients.
- Peruvian Ceviche usually includes some hot pepper (real Peruvian Aji Amarillo or habanero chile, if you can find it). Feel free to add it seeded, halved lengthwise, if you like. It can be added to adjust for your spice preferences.
- At this point, you will want to season to taste with salt.
- Divide ceviche among small clear glass bowls, or small glasses such as wine glasses or martini glasses for an appetizer, or with tender greens for a light, refreshing meal.
- Garnish with sesame seeds if you like or with your favourite herbs such as cilantro, parsley or green onions.
- Serve a type of tuber with your ceviche recipe, which helps balance the flavours of the recipe. You can opt for purees, chips or even pieces of sweet potato, yam or cassava.
- Peruvian ceviche is typically served on a lettuce leaf (or with lettuce leaves on the side), with boiled choclo (Peruvian corn) or corn, with baguette, cancha corn (toasted corn nuts) or Andean style corn nuts, slices of boiled sweet or white potato, chifles de platano (fried plantain chips) or green plantain chips.
- Lettuce, corn, avocado or other cold salad vegetables on the side or lettuce wraps.
- In tacos, corn tortilla chips, tostadas, or saltine crackers - although you won't find tortilla chips in Peru.
- Diced or sliced hot peppers
- Olive oil
- Lime slices
Read bread-making further information in my book:
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