Prep time: 5-8 hours
Active prep time: 10-60 minutes
Special equipment needed – None
Special skills needed – None
I call this recipe “Tres Ceviches” because ceviches essentially all start the same way, with fish and lime juice. This recipe gives you the beginning and three different ways to finish it. You don’t have to make all three. Just pick your favorite. Ceviche is all about the fish, so if you start with great fish and let it be the star of the dish, then the other stuff doesn’t matter all the much. Remember, the lime doesn’t actually cook the fish, and there is always a risk of getting sick when consuming raw fish. You’ll have to make your own decision about how much risk you are willing to take. Many people that I know will catch a salmon in the Monterey bay and eat it raw on the boat and I’ve never known any of them to ever get sick from it. Personally, I will only eat raw ocean fish that has been frozen for 7 days below -4 degrees Fahrenheit. That is generally accepted to be a safe standard for killing things like tapeworms. Your home freezer may not get that cold, so check it if you plan to freeze your own fish for this purpose. Commercially frozen fish will meet this standard. Avoid consuming any freshwater fish raw. Once you’ve got general food safety concerns squared away, you can get on to making your delicious ceviche. It’s a perfect dish to share with friends, accompanied by a huge bowl of corn chips and a some ice cold beers.
1 lb white fish fillets – Corvina is considered to be the best by many Latin Americans. I like to use white seabass. Snapper, shortbill spearfish, and rockfish are all great choices.
1 medium onion
1 ½ cups lime juice
Dice the fish into 1/3” cubes. You can go bigger if you like, but be aware that this will increase your “cook” time. Be careful to remove any chewy looking connective tissues, skin, or bones as you go. Remember, ceviche is all about the fish.
Dice the onion. The onion should be diced quite a bit smaller than the fish pieces. Toss these together in a bowl to mix and then cover in lime juice. Make sure that the fish cubes are completely submerged.
Refrigerate these for 4 hours, stirring once after about 2 hours. Depending on the size of your dice, the acidity of your limes, and the density of the fish you’ve chosen, the “cooking” may be done at four hours. It could take up to 7 hours. I believe that ceviche is best from 4 to 24 hours after it is made, so err on the side of caution and start it early. Even the night before is fine.
After 4 hours, check every hour or so until it is done. You’ll know it is done when you break open a cube and it is white all the way through. Drain off all the lime juice and retain it for later.
Ceviche #1 – Super simple Ceviche
Once the fish is done “cooking” this simple recipe just takes a couple of minutes. It could not be simpler, and if you choose a great salsa, you might not be able to do much better by going all out on fresh ingredients.
1 cup of your favorite tomato based salsa or pico de gallo
1 avocado – diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the fish, salsa, avocado, salt, and pepper. Add back in as much lime juice as you want from the fish. Stir it up, being careful not to break up the fish.
Ceviche #2 – Garden fresh Ceviche
This is my personal favorite, and it comes out every summer as soon as the garden starts producing tomatoes and peppers. A good homegrown tomato sets off the flavors of the citrusy fish like nothing else.
1 lb tomatoes diced about the same size as the fish cubes
½ cup chopped Cilantro
1 Jalapeno – finely chopped. You can add as much as you want, but this dish is cool and refreshing and too much spice will overwhelm it.
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Cumin
½ teaspoon Chili powder
1 avocado - diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the drained fish with the tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and avocado. Mix gently to combine, being careful not to break up the fish and avocado. Add back in as much of the reserved lime juice as you like. Make sure not to use too much as it can be too acidic if you do.
Ceviche #3 – Caribbean style ceviche
This is a creamier, heartier version of ceviche. It is interesting and much less common than the other two, so it gets a lot of attention at a pot-luck or backyard event. This is fine with a corn chip but really goes great on a pita chip.
15 cherry tomatoes – quartered
2 Thai chiles – finely chopped
1 small cucumber – diced
½ cup coconut cream
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon ginger paste
In a large bowl gently toss together the drained fish, cherry tomatoes, Thai chiles, and cucumber. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut cream, soy sauce, orange juice, and ginger paste. Pour the liquid into the fish mixture and toss to coat evenly. Add back in as much of the reserved lime juice as you like.