Making Great Ceviche

Making Great Ceviche

Fresh fish, colorful vegetables and a zesty marinade make up one of the best dishes for any social gathering: ceviche. If you’re throwing a party or joining a potluck, this creative dish ensures quality and ultimate satisfaction.

Here we’ll describe what makes up the uniqueness of this dish and how you can find the best variation for your next big event.

What is Ceviche?

As a popular coastal dish from Latin America, ceviche can serve as an appetizer or the main course. This tasty meal contains slices of raw fish that marinate in citrus juice. It can also include shellfish, shrimp, fresh produce and herbs.

This dish is incredibly versatile. From spicy habanero peppers to mild sweet potatoes, ceviche has unlimited potential. You can have fun experimenting with different ingredients each time you make it to create a one-of-a-kind meal.

What’s the Best Fish to Use For Ceviche?

It’s important to use the freshest fish to make ceviche. This prevents foodborne illness since the dish uses raw fish. Fresh fish does not smell fishy and is firm to the touch.

Fish with softer, flakier flesh take less time to marinate than denser fish. The best fish recommended for this colorful dish are:

Any of these fish translates into a delicious ceviche dish. Different variations and ingredients will determine the best fish for you to use. Many recipes also call for shrimp, shellfish, shark, octopus and other seafood favorites.

How to Make Ceviche

While this dish is not difficult to prepare, it does require creativity and attention to detail. It’s important to note before you make this dish that timing is everything. 

Begin by cutting the seafood into small pieces. Next, you’ll “denature” the fish. This process involves marinating the raw seafood in citrus juice, such as lemon or lime, to bring out the natural flavors in the fish. Place the marinating seafood in the fridge to “cook”.

Denaturing changes the structure of the fish with the citrus juice. During this process, it will lose its translucence and appear cooked. Times will vary while marinating the fish. Marcela Valladolid from The Food Network recommends letting the fish marinate for 15 to 20 minutes in the fridge in her Tilapia Ceviche recipe.

If you let the seafood absorb the marinade for too long, it can become chalky and soak up too much flavor. The fish will appear whiter in color when it’s done marinating.

If you’re cooking with shrimp, Southern Living suggests blanching the shrimp before adding it to your dish. This process cooks the shellfish in boiling water for additional food safety. Make sure the shrimp is no longer transparent, then plunge it into ice water to cool.

Mix in your extra ingredients and serve at room temperature or chilled for incredible flavor. The best time to enjoy this meal is when it’s freshly prepared.

Expert tip: Add avocado to your ceviche. The acid in the citrus marinade keeps the avocados from turning brown quickly. Plus, avocado also adds a delicious, creamy taste to this dish.

Ceviche Variations

Several countries have their own cultural influence on this dish. While ceviche is known to have originated in Peru, these countries have their own unique take on this flavorful cuisine. Each variation has different ingredients. Marinating the fish in citrus juice is a common step in every recipe.

Peruvian Ceviche

Ceviche is known as Peru’s national dish. Peruvians denature sea bass, or another fresh fish, for only a few minutes in the citrus juice. They mix in seasonings like onions, garlic and spicy Peruvian chilies. The Peruvians also like to serve sweet potatoes and corn with their ceviche.

Ecuadorian Ceviche

This variation is commonly flavored with a tangy tomato sauce and lime. The Ecuadorians enjoy using shrimp, clams, octopus, crab or sea bass. Thinly sliced plantains and corn nuts are a traditional touch to their take on this dish.

Mexican Ceviche

Ceviche is a staple in coastal resorts in Mexico. Shrimp, tuna and crab are the traditional seafood base for this country’s variation. Tilapia is also a common ingredient. Jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro and other fresh ingredients make up the flavorings of this dish. It’s also typically served with tortilla chips.

Costa Rica Ceviche

Sea Bass is commonly used for this country’s variation. Tilapia, shark and Mahi Mahi can also be used in this delectable dish. Bell peppers, onions and vinegar traditionally flavor Costa Rican ceviche.

Ceviche isn’t known for having the best shelf-life. After enjoying your meal, it’s recommended to compost the remainder of the dish. If you save ceviche as a leftover, the marinade will continue to flavor the fish in the fridge, making the citrus taste even stronger. Bacteria will also have an opportunity to grow, risking foodborne illness. Additionally, the raw fish will become chalky and begin to break apart.

The best way to guarantee the freshness of this dish is to buy high-quality seafood from a supplier you trust. At Tonight We Dine, our seafood is wild caught and flash-frozen on the boat. This natural method ensures ultimate freshness and flavor.

For more delicious recipes and meal inspiration, check out our Wild Seafood collection.
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