Ceviche (or Cebiche) is one of my favorite non-cooking recipes in the summer. A dish that was declared national heritage in Peru and has been well known in Latin America for centuries. Fresh raw fish is cured in citric juices for few hours before served as an appetizer. The citrusy liquid that cures the fish is commonly called “Leche de Tigre” (tiger’s milk – although there is no milk in it), it gets a lot of flavor from onions, garlic, celery, and hot pepper (aji) along with the fish natural oils.
I was introduced to this citrus delicious dish by my friend’s “compadre” Marcos, who was born in Peru. In Venezuelan beaches we eat raw seafood marinated in vinegars and limes. We have many different names for it, most of them are funny names like “rompe colchon”; which translates to something like “mattress destroyer”, due to the believe that seafood is an aphrodisiac (I am not kidding!). I was very intrigue by Marco’s ceviche because it was different, so I asked him to show me how to make it. He invited us over one day after work and we made ceviche together for the first time. That was 20+ years ago, I have been making many variations ever since.
For the best tasting ceviche make sure you use fresh ingredients, especially the fish. For this recipe I used Mahi Mahi, I usually make it with sea bass, you can try to make it with your favorite white fresh fish. This is a dish that I enjoy bringing to parties and I use it a lot for entertaining. It is easy to make and it has to be made ahead, great fit when you are planning a party. I love serving it with fried plantains, but when I am not too ambitious crackers will do 🙂 This is the perfect dish for a summer hot day!
16oz. Mahi Mahi approx.
1 medium size red onion
3 sweet peppers
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño, seeded
1 handful of cilantro
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
Cilantro leaves and flowers to garnish (optional)
Cut the Mahi Mahi in small cubes, reserve about 1/4 cup, place the rest of the fish in a big bowl, sprinkle with salt, place in the fridge. For the next step set a small and a large bowl next to your cutting board. Cut the onion, reserve the ends in the bigger bowl, slice the rest very fine and place in small bowl. Finely dice 2 sweet peppers, reserve in the small bowl with the sliced onions and set aside. Roughly chop the remainder sweet pepper, celery, garlic, jalapeño and cilantro, add to the big bowl. Finely chop the reserved Mahi Mahi and add to the big bowl, season with salt & pepper. Add the lime juice and vinegar.
With the help of a muddler start extracting the juices from all the ingredients in the bowl. If you don’t have a muddler, you could use the end of a rolling pin, or you could pulse in a blender a couple of times making sure not to blend all the way. Bring the Mahi Mahi out of the fridge, add the reserved sliced onion and diced sweet pepper, strain the juice mixture on top, combine well. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Garnish with cilantro leaves or flowers. Serve with your favorite chips or crackers. Enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from Chef Gaston Acurio.