Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
May 10, 2007 06:03 AM

Ceviche Marinating Time Question

Ok, so basically, the title sums up my question. I've read a bunch of recipes the past few days, some say let sit for 5 hours, others 2, some just say between 15-30 min. I'm definitely confused! None of these have said to poach the fish, either, so it's not a question of some using 'pre-cooked' fish.

I'm making this for dinner tonight and if i need 5 hrs, i'll put it together at lunch and then head back to work. Otherwise, I'll put it together after work and it'll just sit for 1-2 hrs.
Help! Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Interesting - the only recipes I've done - which are from one book - say to poach the fish first. I think they say to marinate for 2 hours - but I'll go and check.

    Edit - yes, mine says "refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving" - after adding the dressing. That's for a Peruvian ceviche with "mixed seafood" - clams, scallops, calamari, octopus, mussels, diced fish, etc.

    The Ecuadorian Shrimp ceviche recipe just calls for tossing the dressing with the shrimp, then adding in the garnishes when you are ready to serve.

    Honduran Ceviche - this is with tuna, and says to toss the dressing with the tuna when you are ready to serve.

    5 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      my understanding of ceviche is that the fish is not pre-cooked. the acid in the citrus *cooks* the fish.

      as to time of marinade, it depends on the specific fish being used. 5 hours sounds like an awfully long time. the proteins do begin to break down and the texture of the fish is compromised.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        That was my understanding too - this cook book is Nuevo Latino by Douglas Rodriguez (he was the chef at Patria, among other places). Don't know why, but his recipes (other than the tuna one) call for blanching the seafood for one minute.

        1. re: MMRuth

          lol, i've eaten his food and worked with him. he doesn't prepoach. i wonder if it was something from the editors for folks who were squicked by *raw* fish?

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            That did cross my mind. Wonderful - that was such a PITA - especially in warm weather!

        2. re: hotoynoodle

          You are absolutely poaching. two hours maybe three would be sufficent. Also depends on the seafood you use.

      2. In my experience, a couple hours is enough if your ingredients are fresh, fresh. In 5 hours, the citrus tends to overwhelm the subtle sweetness of the seafood, plus, the individual flavors begin to run together and become almost indistinguishable. At my favorite ceviche restaurant in Mexico (Veracruz, in Playa del Carmen) they fold in the small fresh oysters just before serving. There was a related post a few months ago about day-old ceviche, and the consensus was is it is safe and edible, but just food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          Thanks, all! I'll be getting the fish from a terrific seafood store, so I'll just aim for about an hour or hour and a half. Good to know that the type of fish makes a diff. I'm using red snapper.

          1. re: brownie

            Yum. Let us know! Also, the red snapper is a soft flesh and absorbs the citrus much more quickly than conch or octopus.

            1. re: Veggo

              also good to know! sadly my friend just called to cancel, as he threw out his back...oh well, i'll try it next week when we reschedule. Lucky thing I was waiting til the last minute to buy the fish. For once, procrastination works out for me! Will try next week and report.
              thanks to all!

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. When I make my ceviche with shrimp and scallops, and I make it for a large group, I let it sit for 5 hours. But I also only use a cup of lime juice for 2 lbs of seafood. So your mileage may vary. I also do not poach the seafood. it is totally raw.

            1. It has entirely to do with the type of seafood you're using, how fresh it is and how thinly you cut it. Fresher, more delicate and more thinly sliced will all mean you need less marinating time. My guess is that, if you're willing to use the fish, its' pretty fresh and you can always cut it smaller, so 2 hours would be sufficient.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ccbweb

                absolutely. If the seafood is sweet and fresh it only needs a couple of hours. Any more than that and the marinade over powers the seafood. For shellfish I usually pour boiling water over my scallops just to blanch the outside and blanch sprinp for 1-2 min before shocking in ice water. Fish is usually done totally raw. I often mix lime with orange for a little sweetness, onions and cilantro.