A summer staple in many Latin American countries and the Caribbean, ceviche is a fresh dish that utilizes even fresher seafood to make the ultimate dish. It’s tart, sweet and delicious, so give it a try this summer!
First of all, let’s set the record straight on spelling. Accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy, it can be spelled cebiche, ceviche or seviche. We’re sticking with ceviche for the sake of continuity. The origin of this dish is a constant battle between Peru, Ecuador, Chile and the Philippines, but since each country has its unique way of preparing it, we’ll discuss the varieties and let you choose which one you’d like to make this summer!
Whip up a batch of salmon ceviche for an impressive appetizer >>
Peruvians tend to not only cook their fish in lime, but they also add pickled vegetables, like onions, to the ceviche. Added crunch and flavor provide the dish with a nice finish. In Ecuador, “choclo” or fresh corn kernels are added to the ceviche, which balances out the tartness of the fish and citrus with a sweet pop of flavor. A favorite of many, Chilean ceviche sticks to the classic citrus flavors but adds a dash of a traditional Chilean spice, Merken. A mix of pulverized smoked peppers, cumin and coriander, it adds heat and smokiness to a rather citrus-based dish.
Tips for making ceviche
- If you can’t get your hands on fresh fish or seafood, do NOT make ceviche. A preparation that uses the acid of citrus fruits to cook the fish, you want to make sure your fish is fresh and won’t make you sick.
- Talking about seafood, remember you can make ceviche with other varieties of protein. Scallop, salmon and conch ceviche are a few favorites.
- Don’t over-salt it! Sure, seasoning is important but in ceviche, salt will draw out all the moisture from your fresh fish and render it rubbery. Place a small bowl of kosher or sea salt at the table so your guests can salt to their liking before consuming.
- Sure, lime juice is the classic way to go but why not embrace other citrus fruit? Some ideas to squeeze into ceviche are grapefruit, tangerine, pomelo, key limes and even kumquats!
Remember, variety is the spice of life. Try a shrimp and avocado ceviche or even a spicy halibut ceviche. Better yet, go totally vegan and make a cauliflower ceviche! The possibilities are endless and the summer is just getting started, so on hot days when you don’t want to turn on the grill, head to your local fishmonger and have a chat with them about what’s the freshest that day. And then, make it a ceviche day!