Happy weekend everyone!
I was really excited to get done with classes on Friday because I was going to make a dish I absolutely adore but have never made: ceviche. This was my first attempt at it and I thought it went fabulous. There are many many types of ceviche, and not all ceviche use raw fish. Some ceviches use cooked shrimp and octopus, and some use fruit like mango and avocado.
While every and all ceviches are winners in my book, Peruvian ceviche takes the cake.
Maybe that’s because ceviche was originated in Peru, or so says Wikipedia:
“The origin of ceviche is disputed. Possible origin sites for the dish include the western coast of north-central South America, or in Central America. Other coastal societies such as the Polynesian islands of thesouth Pacific are also attributed the invention of the plate. The Spanish, who brought from Europe citrus fruits such as lime, could have also originated the plate with roots in Moorish cuisine. However, the most likely origin of the plate lies in the area of present-day Peru.[2“
Throughout South American, ceviche recipes differ by region. Chilean ceviche uses sea bass and heavy amounts of cilantro, and occationally even grapefruit juice. Peruvian ceviche comes in all varieties, and sometimes includes aji amarillo, garlic, lemon juice, corvina (white fish), shrimp, and the liquid is typically removed (this has to do with the Japanese “sashimi” style influence on the country). Ecuadorian ceviche has the unusual addition of ketchup and sometimes mustard and some kind of chunky side, like tostados (South American corn nut). In Mexico, the ceviche sometimes has avocado and tomato.
The recipe I found for my version came from Laylita’s fabulous South American cooking blog. This recipe was awesome and I loved the addition of the hot pepper.
So on Friday afternoon I made a trip down to Mercado Central to buy my fish. Unfortunately, the corvina was like 10,000 luca (20 dollars) so I went with reineta instead. I do think a little higher quality, more expensive fish would have been better, but honestly the recipe was still delicious and overall, a definite success.
WORD TO THE WISE: Ceviche has to “cook” in lime juice for a few hours, so make sure you plan ahead!
White Fish Ceviche
15 small limes, juiced
1 bunch of cilantro
1/2-1lb of boneless white fish (halibut, sea bass, or red snapper are good picks)
2 small red onions, sliced very thinly
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 hot peppers (I used these aji amarillos I found at the market, but I think thai chili peppers would be good, or any hot pepper really)
First: Cut the fish into small cubes and soak in salt water for 30 minutes in the fridge. the reason you must do this is to kill any bacteria and parasites. Gross, I know.
Second: Juice your limes! This takes a while. Not the most fun part.
Three: Cut your onions and soak them in salt water with a little vinegar if you have it. This will make the onions sweeter.
Four: Remove the salt water from the fish, and put the fish in a glass container (baking pan will work) with the lime juice, the hot peppers sliced diagonally, the garlic, and a few springs of cilantro. Put the container, covered, in the fridge for 2.5-3 hours, until the fish looks whitish and firm. This is the “cooking” process and it is important that all the raw fish is covered in lime juice so that it cooked properly.
Four: Remove the peppers, and garlic, and add the onions (water removed) and cilantro. Add a few drizzles of olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt. Put in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Five: Finally, serve in a glass dish, with liquid or without. I like personally like somewhere in between.
If you want to make it PERUVIAN, it should be served in a lettuce leaf, with a sliced sweet potato, and choclo (large grain corn).
Ceviche is a great appetizer or even main dish for a hot summer day. Serve it it in fun tequila glasses, or glasses with salt lined rims. You can also make fish tacos with your ceviche, or eat it with something crunchy like potato chips.
Happy Fall! Or, Spring here in Chile….