Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ceviche: A Recipe

In Mexico, they serve ceviche everywhere on the coast. They serve it in restaurants, and vendors sell it from coolers on the beach (not recommended!) It is actually made without cooking the fish, but the lime and any other acids in the juice "cook" the fish in a chemical process without heat. As with any recipe, but especially when raw fish is concerned, buy your ingredients some place that you trust. I get my fish from New Season's in NE Portland or at Umajimaya in Beaverton. Both places have fish good enough to eat raw. If you want to do a shrimp ceviche, the shrimp should be cooked, but otherwise you can follow this recipe.

There are lots of variations to this recipe, but I tried to make it like they serve it on the Pacific coast of Mexico. This dish is usually considered an appetizer, but I could eat it all day. I am not going to give quantities for this one, as you can adjust the ingredients according to your taste. Start by buying the fish. About a quarter pound is good for appetizing 2-3 people.
First, cut into very small pieces,

halibut, halibut cheeks, or whatever firm white fish looks freshest in the store.

The smaller the pieces you cut, the faster it will be done. Place the chopped fish pieces in a non-metallic bowl big enough to accomodate the whole recipe later. It will be roughly double in size at the end. Cover the fish in:

fresh lime juice

I use a great citrus squeezer that looks like this to juice my limes:
Add a fair amount of:

salt

Mix the lime, salt, and fish together, cover, and put it in the refrigerator. It will start turning opaque right away, but it will need at least 20 minutes to be done. In the mean time, chop:

tomatoes (roughly the same bulk in tomatoes as you had in fish)
cilantro jalepeno
onion
I couldn't find a good one for this meal, but if you want you can also add:

avacado,
chopped into chunks

Some people like big chunks of onion in their ceviche or salsa fresca. I avoid these pieces. However, I found out the hard way that the onion cannot be omitted. The salsa doesn't have enough flavor to it if you do. My solution for this problem was to mince the onion very finely, and I only used a very small amount - perhaps less than a tablespoon for the whole dish. I still got all the benefits of the onion without the big chunks. I suppose the same technique could be applied to any of the other vegetable ingredients that you are not overly fond of.

When you are done chopping veggies, check on the fish. It should look uniformly white and cooked. If it doesn't, stir it and give it a few more minutes. When it all looks white, cut open a piece and see if it's white all the way through - then it's done. Put the chopped/minced vegetables in the bowl with the fish and stir it all around. If there is too much liquid at this point, you can drain some off. How much liquid you serve it with is personal preference. Taste it to see if you need to modify any ingredients, but I'm sure it will be perfect at this point. Serve it with:

corn tortilla chips or tostadas


Any leftovers will still be good for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

10 comments:

Liz said...

Oooh. I didn't realize shrimp cevivche should be cooked first. Good to know!

This recipe sounds great and simple. I'm so jealous of you Pacfic Norwesterners and your glorious fish!

Gina said...

Yes, we have great fish here, it's true! We're really lucky. Fresh fish is really amazing.

Linda said...

How interesting! The lime juice cooks it? I'll have to try this some time.

I noticed there wasn't a link to this in my what's for dinner wed. post. Did you have problems or just forget?

Brian said...

I've always wanted to try Ceviche but I've been reluctant to try the raw fish "cooked" by lime juice thing. I guess I need to live a little. Thanks

Mikki Black said...

Thanks for the recipe. Looks super yummy.

WendyGK said...

When we lived in S. Calif. my mom made this a lot. I would never eat it!

Babyfro said...

This weeks What for Dinner Wednesday! is just full of things I've not tried before. Ceviche is another of those.

thewholegang said...

Oooh, I like this one. I like my fish cooked but have recently discovered I can handle citrus cooked scallops. Halibut sounds great and I live the combo of food. thank you!

Endless Possibilities said...

I love ceviche!

glutenfree4goofs said...

I love that you minced the onion-good flavor bad texture otherwise, in my opinion! :) Speaking of texture how is the "cooked" fish? I'm really wierd about texture. The only time I've eaten raw fish was in Japan (I couldn't say no, they didn't understand)! So on a 1-5 scale is the texture like chicken (1) or snails (5)? Hee hee!