As most of you have likely heard, however, a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake rocked southern
CRIMSON SOLIDARITY (started by friends of mine)
How can anyone write about the highlights of Peruvian cuisine without mentioning ceviche (unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian)? I’ve been in love with the dish since I first tried an interpretation of it, with trout and lots of lime and peppers, in
Ceviche was coming “into fashion” on the haute-cuisine stage at that point. The dish immigrated from its Peruvian home, where it was already migrating to other parts of the region (like Nica), all the way to
So what is it exactly? Ceviche (sometimes called cebiche) is a dish of raw fish marinated, or “cooked,” in citrus juice. It was originally eaten by the Inca. In
The “secret” of ceviche, though, is that the fish are not actually raw. They’re not quite “cooked,” either, since that term implies the use of heat. Rather, the acidity of the citrus juice chemically denatures proteins in the fish used for ceviche. The process renders the meat an opaque color, which can give it the appearance of having been cooked. But the texture of the meat remains raw, almost like sashimi.
There are two important tricks to preparing ceviche. Both involve maintaining a fine balance in the fish, so as to avoid undercooking it without overcooking. One is in the cut of the fish. Select the freshest fish you can find, and make sure that you slice it into thin, bit-size pieces. This increases the surface area that’s exposed to the citrus juices, allowing them to work best. The second trick is to not over-marinade your fish – too much exposure to the citrus can give it a tough, leathery texture. Your seafood will determine length of exposure. Generally, a flakier fillet, like flounder or snapper, or tender shellfish like scallops may only need to marinate for about 15 minutes. Denser fish, such as mahi mahi, can take closer to 50 minutes or an hour to “cook.”
Remember though, citrus juice cannot kill bacteria in the same way that heat can. So it’s very important to pick fresh fish, free of bacteria and parasites, to prepare this dish. Where this is not possible, some advise picking deep-frozen fin fish, which has been at -4F for at least a week.
And now, without further ado, a recipe for basic ceviche –
2 lbs of fresh red snapper fillets (no bones), cut into thin ½ inch pieces
½ cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
½ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ red onion, very finely diced
1 cup of fresh peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1 serrano or other hot chili, seeded and finely diced
1 sweet potato, boiled until soft, peeled and cut into big slices
1 ear of boiled sweet corn, kernels removed
2 teaspoons of salt
dash of ground oregano
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1. In a casserole dish, preferably ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper.
2. Cover with lime and lemon juice.
3. Let mixture sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices.
4. Let sit for two more hours, giving time for the flavors to blend.
5. Serve accompanied with boiled, peeled sweet potato and corn, garnish with red onions.
You can use shrimp or scallops, or another flaky white fish instead of the snapper. You can also add key lime juice or grapefruit juice (freshly squeezes, no sugar added) instead of regular lime juice to add additional flavor.