Yesterday, (after shamelessly teasing my followers with details of my dinner plans) I promised a Twitter friend I would share the recipe for the ceviche my friend and I were making. The “recipe” is more or less his, but really it’s a straight forward Ceviche recipe that requires just a few pieces of magic ;).
Fish – Make sure the fish is fresh! I would not suggest the local grocery store chain. I prefer to go to a fresh, local “fish” market or some kind of specialty store like Whole Foods, Earthfare, etc. Their selection will be the freshest, healthiest and best for our planet.
The amount of fish is up to you. A few filets would make a great appetizer and/or meal for 2-4 people. Depends how hungry you are! 😉 We used shrimp, squid, and trout. I like to mix it up, but some folks prefer keeping it simple.
Tilapia, grouper, white tuna, trout and shrimp are excellent choices. Their mellow flavor captures the cilantro and lime zing perfectly. Salmon and other stronger types are not generally used, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tweek it to work for you.
Salmon is my favorite fish, and I will definitely figure out a good ceviche recipe for it one of these days. 😉
(1) Onions – Any onions will do – as long as they are fresh and crisp. The Vidalia onions will add a sweetness to the mix, and can make your dish unique.
(2-4) Tomatoes – Again, fresh, fresh! I like Roma tomatoes the best, because they are easiest to chop up. If your neighbor grows them (or you do) then snatch those rubies up – the best tomatoes I have ever had were born in a backyard Rubbermaid bucket.
We used (1) normal-sized tomato for our ceviche, but I really wish we had added more. It was the only regret. Tomatoes add to the presentation of the ceviche, but most importantly – the taste.
LOTS of Cilantro – The key flavor of ceviche is the cilantro. Get at least two bunches, and after you mix it in you will be able to tell if you have enough or not. Again, make sure it is fresh!!
(8 or more) Limes – This is what actually cooks the Ceviche, so you are going to need a LOT. The juice will need to be squeezed and added to the fish after it is sliced. You want to make sure that you have enough to make a soup-like base….you will be adding the other ingredients to it later. No worries – it won’t be sour like you originally think.
Salt – Sea salt is the best. I always prefer to use less and then let people add in more if they want. There is nothing worse than overly salty food in my mind – so be careful!
(2) Cucumbers – This is not a typical addition to ceviche. My partner and I decided that we both loved cucumbers and lime juice, so we thought we would add it in. You too, can add in veggies you like, but be mindful of their flavor. Cucumbers don’t have a strong taste, absorb other flavors well, and add crunch and freshness to any meal – so they are a good choice.
(2) Avocados – We decided to get some avocados for the final touch. A personal choice, but one that works so well!
1. Cut up the fish first. Make sure to leave the fish skin-less, and cut everything in cubes. All you want is the actual meat of the fish. If you use squid without tentacles (like I did), just cut them into small enough pieces to blend. Make sure to cut the fish into cubes large enough that you can see them “cooking” along the way. Put them into a bowl large enough to blend all your ingredients into later.
2. Juice your limes! If you don’t have a juicer you can easily purchase hand-held juicers from Wal-mart or most grocery stores. I have a professional juicer, but the one I prefer (for jobs like this) is just a simple hand-held. Again, you want enough juice to completely cover the fish, have excess to be absorbed, and cover future ingredients.
3. Once you finish with the lime juice and fish – go ahead and cover it and put it into the refrigerator. This will begin the “cooking” stage and will take about 30 minutes…it just depends on the fish you use. Using a white fish is good because the meat goes from a clear color (raw) to white (cooked). It’s easiest to see what’s going on.
4. Cut up the veggies! Cubes are going to be the best for the veggies as well. If you want more veggie taste, then cut them bigger and for less, smaller. Ceviche is a dish that can be played with quite a bit, so no real worries about what you are doing. The lime juice is the most important factor, and make sure the cilantro is chopped up well.
5. After about 20 minutes go ahead and pull out the fish and lime juice. If the fish is close to being cooked (about ten minutes out), go ahead and add the other ingredients, blend and put it back in the refrigerator. Now is the time to add the salt, but do so sparingly.
6. When the fish is white – is it ready to be served. Pull it out of the fridge, put it into whatever serving containers you want to use, and add the avocado. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and make cross-cuts all throughout the half. Then using a spoon, scoop the avocado out (it should resemble cubes as well) and put it on top of the ceviche. Long slices can also be used.
Ceviche is an excellent dish that can be mixed with many things.
When I lived in Panama I lived on their ceviche 🙂 It was always readily available in the stores, and I just couldn’t seem to ever get enough of it. In Panama, I used plain, light crackers to scoop up the ceviche and eat it.
Crackers, tortilla chips or (tortas) are a few good choices for scooping it up. Their flavors are very light and not over-powering. The pops of flavor in the ceviche are best preserved with simple side-kicks. For the folks that prefer to stay away from the carbs, celery and romaine lettuce are good substitutes.
If you have any suggestions, personal recipes or stories associated with ceviche ~ please feel free to share! I am certainly no grand cook, but enjoy throwing foods together. Ceviche is a dish that will leave your tongue popping and your mouth grateful.
(photo via web)