What Is Ceviche?
Ceviche pronounced “say-beach-chay,” is a famous Peruvian dish. This popular seafood dish claims origins in Lima, Peru but is found in many coastal areas throughout Latin America such as Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia.
Ceviche in its simplest form consists of diced cubes of raw fish, fresh lime juice and colorful seasoning elements such as onions, cilantro, and peppers. By marinating the fish in citrus juice and spices, the acid in the juice denatures the proteins in the meat. The flesh becomes opaque, the texture firmer and dryer, yet the flavors remain fresh.
Ceviche Myth Busting
Myth: The fish in ceviche is completely raw.
Truth: Fish in a ceviche is indeed not completely raw. Rather, the natural acidity of the lime denatures the protein in the fish. The structure of the proteins changes in such a way that they lose their biological function. But the process depends on how the fish is cut: only with wafer-thin slices will the protein change be sufficient. In addition, the lowering of the pH value by adding acid makes the growth of bacteria in a Ceviche more difficult – similar to the pickling of cucumbers.
Myth: Consuming lime juice is bad for your stomach.
Truth: On the contrary, lime juice is an alkaline that can help return the over-acidic stomach to normal levels of acidity.
Ceviche is not difficult to prepare but it requires attention to detail and fresh ingredients. The quality of the fresh fish is also important as marination will not kill all bacteria the same way cooking with heat will do. Follow your nose when it comes to picking out fresh fish. You should not smell anything when you pick out the freshest fillets at your local fish market. If you smell a fishy smell, it’s been sitting there too long.
Fresh fish to use in ceviche:
- Sea Bass
Shellfish to use in ceviche:
How to Make Ceviche
- Place cubed fish in a large, non-reactive mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, orange juice and honey. Pour citrus mixture over seafood. Stir to evenly coat the fish. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes, gently stirring the mixture halfway through refrigeration time. There is much discussion around how long to marinate the fish, follow this guide for more details.
- Add tomatoes, jalapeños, onion and garlic to the fish mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes or until fish is cured to your liking.
- Drain the mixture and transfer to a serving bowl. Gently stir in avocado, mint and cilantro. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt, pepper and additional herbs if desired.
- Serve immediately.
Seafood ceviche is incredibly simple to make and requires no actual cooking!
How to Serve Ceviche
As all good hosts know, presentation is as equally important as the dish! Classic ceviche makes a perfect appetizer for parties or a healthy, light meal! There are many delicious ways to serve ceviche depending on your mood, just don’t forget to garnish it with plenty of fresh herbs and lime wedges!
Here are a few ideas:
- Serve ceviche in a bowl with chips, saltines or plantain chips alongside.
- Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit and fill each avocado half with ceviche.
- Spoon ceviche into leaves of bibb lettuce for healthy lettuce wraps.
- Serve ceviche as a main with rice on the side.
- Stuff ceviche into taco shells for a fun twist on taco night.
There are many variations and a plethora of recipes to explore online. Have fun and enjoy the healthy benefits this dish has to offer.
The associates at Chef’s Corner Store are always happy to answer any questions you have about products or uses. Based in Centennial, CO, Chef’s Corner Store offers a premium selection of products for your kitchen, creating endless possibilities. Visit our website or showroom to learn more.