Ce·vi·che: A Latin American dish of marinated raw fish or seafood, typically garnished and served as an appetizer, or, in my mind: the best summer dish one can make at home!
Ceviche has this rep of being a complicated dish, and it's "raw" preparation can be intimidating. Except: It's not complicated, and it's not raw, just unheated. So, follow this guide to master the basics, and you can adapt and rock it like a pro. Let's get (not) cookin'!
How To Make The Perfect Ceviche
The Fish: Choose semi-firm white fish or a sushi-grade tuna, or quality seafood like shrimp, scallops, octopus, etc. ALWAYS use the freshest fish you can find, if possible visit the market and get a fresh catch. Avoid using pre-frozen fish at all costs! Not to be dramatic, but using pre-frozen fish will make your ceviche taste like the raunchy mermaid sweat. I've done it. You shouldn't. The best kinds of fish are:
Another crucial step is to keep your fish super cold. As soon as you purchase it, take that baby home and put it in the fridge. Even better, ask for a baggy of ice to keep your Nemo cold as you commute.
The Base: It goes without saying that you should choose the best summer produce you can find. If you're using tomatoes, peppers, or any other veggies, make sure they're just under ripe and still firm. If you buy them super ripe, they'll get too mushy when you marinate them.
If you want to add heat, go for jalapeño or serrano peppers. You can also use red pepper flakes in a pinch. All of these options will give you medium heat, if you are a dare devil, then use habañeros or Thai chiles. Avoid using overpowering spices; as they sit, they could take over all the other flavours.
The Marinade: Citrus juice is your best bet. Always use freshly squeezed juice. Adding a bit of vinegar to the is also a good option, for example, you could squeeze some lime or lemon juice and add a splash of white wine vinegar to enhance the mix, and avoid sweet vinegars like balsamic.
Now that we got the basics covered, let's make a mighty bowl of ceviche. This recipe serves around four as an app, or two for dinner
- Around 1.5 pounds of sole or any of the seafood mentioned above.
- 1/3 cup of sliced radishes
- 1 1/2 cups of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice.
- 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (small cubes). You can use roma or heirloom.
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 serrano peppers
- Handful of finely chopped parsley or cilantro
- 1 ripe avocado
- Corn tortillas or chips
- Tabasco sauce
- Sea salt
Clean and fondle your fish: First off, remove the bloodline, which is the dark red-ish line that runs along the back of your fish. Lay you knife on an angle and slice it off or gently pull it away. And we do want you to fondle your fish, not 'cause we're pervs, but because you need to make sure there aren't any bones or tough pieces left on the fish.
Cube it up: Cut the fish in finger-width strips and then cut across to make perfect little cubes. Remember to keep your fish cold! You can place a bowl of ice with plastic wrap on top while you work on it.
Marinate: Add the lime juice, radishes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, serrano peppers, parsley or cilantro, and the fish in a non-reactive bowl (e.g. glass). Add a few dashes of tabasco sauce, a couple pinches of salt and let it all marinate in the fridge for about 1-3 hours. Stir occasionally to make sure every bit is coated with the mix.
Taste: When the time is up, check if the fish looks "cooked". What's happened here is that the acid has denatured the proteins in the fish, which does the same thing as heating. Cool, right? Taste the mix and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve: No need to fuss around - bring the bowl out of the fridge and prop it on your table. Heat up a few tortillas, slice the avocado, take a few beers out of the fridge, and my amigo, welcome to Villa Ceviche!
See? Not hard at all.
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