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ceviche

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  • jsl Jul 6, 2007 11:58 AM
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I love ceviche and want to try to make it. I like the kind that has fish, any kind, onions, jalpenos, tomatoes, avocados etc. Hope you can help................thanks.

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  1. I think you've just listed your recipe... dice up some white fish/shrimp/scallops with diced tomatoes and onion (I like red onion), fold in some sliced avocado and then toss with lime juice and salt. I think that's pretty much all there is to ceviche.

    11 Replies
    1. re: leanneabe

      And cilantro.

      Ceviche is so easy and there is no real recipe that you need to follow. Just don't over marinate it.

      1. re: scubadoo97

        I can't stand cilantro- it tastes like soap to me- so I put in whatever fresh herb I have on hand- usually parsley or basil.

        1. re: JenJeninCT

          Theres a whole thrread somewhere on whether cilantro is offensive or not. I originally hated it, similar to you, I said it tasted like dishwater, heavily laden with Palmolive ("you're drinking it, Marge!").
          After awhile it wasn't so bad, then after awhile more it was a required ingredient in many things.

      2. re: leanneabe

        I don't think that's ceviche yet. Just put the lime juice on your fish and let that sit in the fridge for a couple hours before adding the rest. By then the fish will have "cooked" a bit.

        1. re: MazDee

          Right. You need to marinate the fish in lime juice for long enough for it to "cook" - i.e. turn opaque. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients, let meld (so add avocado later), and then serve.

          I'm pretty sure shrimp is always poached first. Scallops can be added raw.

          1. re: audreyhtx1

            If you trust the quality and flavor of the fish you've bought, you don't need to marinate it for several hours. Just a couple minutes will do in some cases - just enough to marry the flavors, but still letting the taste of the fish stand out.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              Ah .... see, this is one of the things that is confusing.
              I've been looking at several recipes on the internet, with times ranging from "at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours" to 3 - 4 hours to 2 - 3 hours to "no more than 10 minutes." (The lattermost one in the washington post at
              http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

              I decided to heck with it and just made my own recipe, picking elements from several of the recipes I'd seen. Let it marinate for 2.5 hours.
              And I liked it a lot more than the ones I've had in restaurants. (I set out to make it less sour than some of the ones I've had in restaurants, and it worked!)

              1. re: racer x

                That's the spirit.

                Don't let the recipes scare you. In ceviche, you are combining various things that are edible raw (for more questionable ingredients like shrimp, I blanche first in boiling water). How long to marinate the fish is really just a matter of how much you personally prefer to have the fish marinaded.

                Many restaurants serve ceviche that has been marinaded for a long time as a matter of convenience, not because it's the best way to make ceviche - they make it all before service, and keep serving it throughout the night,.

                1. re: racer x

                  I find next-day ceviche gets quite bitter.

                  1. re: porker

                    typical of lime juice and more if using zests

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      I know this thread is old but speaking for the way I've seen it done in Peru. They usually eat ceviche as raw as possible. U can let it marinate if u like ur seafood "well done." When u order it in Peru, u kinda pick out what seafood u want and it gets tossed in the pre-made marinade (leche de tigre) and then some gets spooned over. I know that shrimp and octopus are blanched beforehand but really the only marinating/cooking it does is while u put it together. And its nice to add a little fish stock to the marinate to round out the flavors.

        2. Agree with the fish, shrimp, scallops, bit of diced chili, tomato, and red onion. Lime juice and touch of salt. Serve with piece of orange fleshed sweet potato, fried yuca (cassava), white choclo on the cob, over lettuce, and with chicha morada. No avocado.

          1. I like to cure the fish in the lemon or lime before adding the veggies. The acid seems to make tomatoes tough. Also, I had some ceviche this weekend in Puerto Vallarta and they added the thinnest possible slices of seeded habanero pepper. Wow, a whole lot of flavor and not as much heat as I thought. Worth a try even if you remove the habanero at serving.

            1. I've recently had some yummy ceviches that included one or more of: cucumbers, mango (YUM), jicama, blood orange. These ceviches are more like a cross between gazpacho and ceviche - a perfect way to use summer produce.

              1. crushed coriander seeds to me are essential.

                also, maybe it goes without saying, the freshest fish possible.

                4 Replies
                1. re: chartreusevelour

                  I've never heard of adding coriander seeds before - fresh cilantro though. Do the crush seeds meld in with the "juice"?

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    the flavor does, if that's what you mean. the seeds soften in the juice, if you're talking about texture.

                    1. re: chartreusevelour

                      Thanks - it was the texture I was wondering about - good tip.

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      there is a lemony flavor to the seeds that the leaves don't have.

                  2. In my experience there are 4 essential components to ceviche: fish, lime juice, a stopwatch, and pico de gallo. In reverse order: pico de gallo is the veggies - finely diced roma tomato, onion, cilantro, and chilis. As NeNePie suggests, fold this in with the fish just before serving. Next, the stopwatch. Every fruit of the sea reacts differently to lime juice. Octopus and conch can go overnight. Shrimp can use 4-6 hours. White flesh fish and scallops, 2-3 hours. Tuna doesn't work at all; the beautiful ruby gelatineous transluscence of tuna assumes a cheweyness and deathly color within 20 minutes of immersion in lime juice. Folding in a few fresh cherrystone clams and small oysters adds a nice dimension. I think the best "mixed" ceviches have the fish folded in at intervals that match their characteristics, with a mindful awareness of the serving hour.
                    Ceviche is nice in warm weather -serve it very cold on chilled plates/ bowls. An avocado wedge is a good garnish and additional flavor, but is not a part of the ceviche.
                    Buen provecho!

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Veggo

                      What other fish besides tuna are not recommended for ceviche?

                      1. re: racer x

                        I would avoid dark fleshed, oily fish like mackerel and bluefish, and all fresh water fish because of the risk of parasites. Salmon is fine if it has been frozen to sushi standards.
                        Other threads note the wide range of regional variations of ceviche, from ketchup based (not my favorite) to the addition of carrots and any number of vegetables apart from standard pico de gallo ingredients (my favorite). Some use chunks of fish while others use shredded fish. I think a guiding principle is to let the fish flavor be the feature, and don't overdo the ketchup, lime, or hot chilies. Re: lime juice, I pour a lot of it off after the fish and/or shellfish marinate, and combine the fish with pico de gallo just before serving.
                        To your question below, I would definitely keep it refrigerated thoughout.

                        1. re: racer x

                          i made ceviche years ago with fresh cod...discovered cod worms dislike acidic lime juice.....
                          Veggo, is the ketcup based ceviche what Mexicans call coctel?

                          1. re: porker

                            Yes, served in the equivalent of a thick ice cream sundae glass, dominated by the ketchup. Not my thing, but popular on Sundays for family fiestas.
                            My favorite ceviches as I have described them are served on plates or very shallow bowls, and don't need chips or saltines. Ceviche with conch, shrimp, and octopus is as close as I will ever get to heaven, and so I am busy cheating the devil.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              I agree - the ketchupy coctel always seemed cheap to me. The ceviche mixto seems classic. Its always the first thing I look for when stepping onto a Mexican beach for the first time in February followed by an icy cold beer (usually in the same breath). As you describe, they are usually served on an unbreakable, melamine plastic, beige plate.
                              {;-/)

                              1. re: porker

                                Or cobalt blue Talavera from Puebla, or colorful artisanal glazes from Tlalpan, or the distinctive green glazes from Michoacan... all add to the moment.

                          2. re: racer x

                            In a cooking class hosted by an Oaxacan chef, she taught us a cerviche using yellowfin tuna. It was fantastic. Pretty much the same procedure as other cerviches but the tuna was finely diced.

                          3. re: Veggo

                            A fine Mexican restaurant in Austin serves yellow-fin tuna in their ceviche. It's awesome. Probably should use sashimi grade tuna.

                            1. re: audreyhtx1

                              Personally, "sashimi grade" tuna means nothing to me, I dive into fresh raw tuna and your resto understands the sensitivities of tuna. I have occasion to re-visit Austin where I used to live, which restaurant? Sounds good based on your reco. Thanks.

                          4. Recently, I've been going nuts with my microplane zester and have been adding the citrus zest as well as the juice to recipes. It adds a whole deeper dimension to the food. Sometimes it's a bit over the top, but I'm a citrus lover so it's fine with me

                            1. How important, if at all, is it that the fish be refrigerated during the hours-long citrus marination?

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: racer x

                                Check out Rick Bayless's web site... he gives a couple of excellent recipies as well as general tips on cheviche

                                1. re: racer x

                                  Minimal importance to food safety (if we're only talking one hour).

                                  But the bigger concern - AFAIK nobody likes to eat warm ceviche,

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Actually, I would prefer it at room temp, rather than refrigerator temp.

                                    1. re: racer x

                                      To each his own.

                                      ETA: I just realized I misread your original question a bit (i read 'hour-long' where you wrote 'hours-long')

                                      The citrus marinade does have some minor antimicrobial properties, but not enough to really press your luck with food safety. You're still best off considering anything 'cooked' by citrus juice as actually being raw (so don't eat it if you wouldn't eat it raw, and don't serve it to pregnant or immunocompromized persons), and also not leaving it out unrefrigerated for more than 4 hours or so. That's the conservative advice, though I don't see any reason not to follow it.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        My next door Mexican neighbor cooks the seafood before making her ceviche. Only way to be sure it's safe to eat.

                                        1. re: mexivilla

                                          That's one way to go, though I'm not quite that cautious. OTOH, If I use shrimp in a ceviche (delicious, BTW), I always blanch em first.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            I steam the shrimp until it is about half cooked and then peel, chop, and finish off in the lime juice for a couple of hours. I then drain the lime juice, mix in chopped tomato, jalapeno, and cilantro. Finally, I top with fresh lime juice, a dash of olive oil, salt, and pepper. I've also added a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice a couple of times with great results.

                                2. The ceviche I've made is really simple. I used snapper and shrimp. I cute the fish and shrimp to make sure each piece was about the same size. Added diced red onions, cilantro and lots of lime juice. Enough lime juice to cover the fish. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and served.

                                  The fish and shrimp had a delicious, almost buttery taste.

                                  From there, I have added on for more interest (cucumber, avocado, etc.)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alliebear

                                    I wish I were your neighbor! I would mow your lawn for a dish!

                                  2. Here's one -

                                    Tuna (sea bass, snapper, shrimp, etc....)
                                    Coconut Milk
                                    Lime Juice
                                    Ginger (fresh)
                                    Jalapeno (red)
                                    Fish Sauce
                                    Cilantro
                                    Sugar

                                    Plantain chips or corn tortilla chips

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: harryharry

                                      Mmmm sounds good.
                                      Will have to try that.

                                    2. Just made this with fresh-caught yellowfin tuna, and a couple of weeks ago with abalone provided by a diver friend (abalone must be cleaned, cut thin, and pounded before dicing). The quantities are rough because I just wing it but it was good enough that I thought I'd share:
                                      1. Squeeze several limes into a bowl (amount depends on how much fish and other ingredients you use). I like those little Mexican limes.
                                      2. Cut tuna into cubes and submerge chopped pieces in lime juice
                                      3. In a separate large bowl, dice/chop and combine:
                                      - fresh tomatoes
                                      - cucumber
                                      - white onion
                                      - ripe mango (I like ataulfo but any ripe, sweet mango works)
                                      - jalapeno pepper (chop fine)
                                      - cilantro
                                      - a clove or two of fresh garlic, chopped finely and blended with a teaspoon or two of sea salt into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife
                                      4. Add seasonings:
                                      - a dash of cumin (careful, a little goes a long way)
                                      - hot sauce to taste (I like Cholula and Tapatio)
                                      - fresh ground black pepper
                                      - salt, to taste
                                      5. When the fish starts looking opaque, combine with the vegetables, adjust seasonings, and enjoy!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: 2m8ohed

                                        That's pretty tricked out for ceviche, but a nice set of ingredients. For the tuna, I would hope that from step 2 to serving is measured in minutes. I have never had ceviche with abalone, but I would guess it stands up to lime for longer periods, similar to conch?

                                      2. if one were to not cook the shrimp at all, where would they find the shrimp that is safe for that? Would frozen prepackaged shrimp work?

                                        if it's always recommended to cook the shrimp (with heat) prior to marinading int he ceviche, what cooking method would be best and would you want to cook the shrimp through? TIA!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: darrentran87

                                          I can't say for sure. I'd say at minimum, it's best to cut out the vein (digestive tract) and then either blanch or steam (or heck, even deep fry if you want) the shrimp briefly - they don't have to be cooked through, but exposing the surface to high heat briefly will be important to kill listeria, vibrio, or any other surface bacteria.

                                          I don't believe that shrimp are often infected internally with parasites or bacteria that are of risk to people (and would necessitate you to cook them through) but I can't say for certain. If you are worried or intend to serve to pregnant/sick/immunocompromized persons, cook em through just to be safe.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            I agree, shrimp are pretty safe raw if you are okay with the texture

                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                              A lot of people have a problem processing the smooth, soft texture of uncooked shrimp in ceviche. If only they could dial up a new experience as a good one, and give it a fair chance....

                                        2. Does anyone have experience with freezing ceviche?

                                          I think the reasons why it might not work are pretty obvious, but has anyone tried it?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: racer x

                                            I did not freeze ceviche, but I did freeze many component parts - onion/tomato/pepper (purchase in bulk from farm in fall, chop, freeze, use in winter). They are OK to good as ingredients in cooked dishes, but lousy when defrosted and eaten like that. I suppose the texture of ceviche would be the same - mushy.

                                            1. re: racer x

                                              I just tested it.

                                              Made some ceviche about a week ago and put about a cup's worth of it in the freezer. Transferred it to the refrigerator to thaw yesterday. Just ate it. Not very visually appealing at all (very dull, somewhat-greyish colors instead of the usual bright colors), but the textures were acceptable and it tasted very good.

                                              (As I recall, it was snapper in a lime-lemon juice [I think about 8 small limes with one or two medium lemons] with a bit of sugar and msg. Marinated in the juice about 3 hours then poured off the juice. Then mixed the fish with pico de gallo of garlic, red onion, tomato, cilantro, salt, touch of fish sauce - no peppers. Laid aluminum foil directly on top and put straight into the freezer.)

                                            2. This is a simple recipe we do in our restaurant. Very thinly slice some salmon. Pour some lemon juice on them. set aside. Make a salsa avocado, shallots, green onions, etc. Place the salmon slices in a single layer on a serving dish. Pour over the salsa. top with some dill and finally drizzle some balsamic vinegar. This is not an exact recipe, just an idea. Just play your game the way you like.