WHAT IS CEVICHE?
Ceviche is a classic dish served throughout South America and is most common in Peru. It is composed of small cubes of fresh white-fleshed fish, marinated in citrus juice, a little salt, chili peppers, and a variety of fresh vegetables including bell pepper, creamy avocado, and fresh cilantro. The acidic citrus marinade essentially 'cooks' the fish by denaturing the proteins and causing it to take on a firm texture and turn opaque as it would if it were cooked with heat.
HOW TO SERVE AND STORE
There are several different ways to serve ceviche. It can be served as a salsa-like dip with a bowl of tortilla chips, on top of a bed of steamed rice for a full meal, wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla as a little fish taco, or in individual shot glasses with a small cocktail fork to be served as an appetizer. If the ceviche is being served at a party or event, consider only putting out a portion of it and storing the remaining ceviche in the fridge to maintain its refreshingly cool temperature and replenish it as necessary.
Because of the gentle acidic cooking process of ceviche, it is best consumed within 24 hours of preparation. Leftover ceviche should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you are storing leftovers, the remaining citrus juice can be drained off to minimize further marinating of the fish, as the texture will continue to change the longer it sits in the juice.
Ceviche is often made with firm-flesh white fish such as fresh halibut, but can also be made with shrimp, or sushi-grade tuna. The most important thing is to use the highest quality fish you can get.
Other fresh vegetables such as diced tomatoes, or fresh sweet corn can be added to this dish in addition to or in place of the other vegetables listed in the recipe.
If you are nervous about the raw nature of the halibut in this recipe, or if you are serving children, the elderly, or others with compromised immune systems, the halibut can be blanched prior to marinating. To do this, bring a medium saucepan of water to a gentle simmer. Cube the fish as the recipe indicates and place it in the water for 45 seconds to a minute until it is cooked through. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to scoop the fish out of the water and place it in a bowl full of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the fish from the water and transfer it to the marinade. If you are using this method, the fish only needs to marinate for about 15 minutes before serving.
REASONS TO LOVE THIS RECIPE
It is easy to make. The marinating time adds some length to this recipe, but the actual preparation time is minimal with simple steps. Everything is essentially diced and added to the marinade and that's it!
It's a crowd favorite. Many people love ceviche because of its bright and satisfying flavor making it the perfect party appetizer. Pair this ceviche recipe with a cold beer on a warm evening and you are sure to please your guests.
It highlights fresh ingredients. The key to the best ceviche is using the freshest ingredients, from the fish you select to the vegetables added. The flavor of each ingredient will be enhanced with the addition of salt and acidic citrus juices, so it is important to start with the best you can get.
Non-reactive glass or ceramic bowl: A large bowl is needed to contain the fish while marinating and mixing the rest of the ingredients. Make sure it is made of a material like glass or ceramic that will not react with the citrus juices during marinating.
Citrus juicer: This recipe calls for a lot of lemon and lime juice, and ideally it will come from fresh fruit. A citrus juicer is helpful for this task and can be either the press type or an electric reamer.
Sharp chef's knife: Most of the ingredients in this recipe are diced or minced, and a sharp chef's knife is ideal for this task.
Wild Alaskan halibut: Halibut is the star of the show in this ceviche recipe. Its firm flesh makes it an ideal choice to stand up well to the acidic lemon and lime juice.
Lemon and lime juice: The citrus juice is what 'cooks' the halibut and adds the tangy flavor that ceviche is so well known for. Because they are such a highlight in the dish, it is best to use fresh juice if possible. If not, bottled juice would work okay.
Red bell pepper: Red pepper adds some bright color contrast to the dish, as well as a sweet crunch. Other colors of peppers would be delicious as well.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers add a refreshing cool crunch and texture to the dish. Look for Persian or English cucumbers that have small seeds and can be used with the skin left on.
Diced avocado: Avocado adds a wonderful decadent creamy texture to the dish and is needed to cut the acid. It is best to use an avocado that is ripe but not overly soft for this recipe so that the cubes can stand up to the light mixing when everything is combined.
Red onion: Red onion adds more color and a wonderful savory spicy flavor to the dish.
Green chiles: This is where the heat comes from. Either jalapenos or serrano peppers can be used, if you love spice, feel free to use additional peppers.
Cilantro leaves: Cilantro adds a wonderful brightness to the dish as well as some more green color. Save a few leaves to garnish the ceviche at the end.
[[ recipeID=recipe-8lex6l9yd, title=Halibut Ceviche ]]
Marisa Kerkvliet of Lemon Thyme Kitchen is a freelance recipe developer and food photographer with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. She was raised on her family’s farm in Northwest Washington and her appreciation for good food developed at a very early age. She is passionate about creating recipes and beautiful imagery that highlight high-quality seasonal ingredients. Marisa loves all types of seafood, but her favorites are salmon and scallops!