Monday, July 25, 2011

Ceviche - The Original Clean Cooking Method

The word ceviche "se-VEE-chay" or more accurately "seb-BEE-chay"" describes both the cooking technique and the end result for seafood cooked by the acidity of lemon and lime juices, and not by traditional heating methods. It is typically shrimp or other seafood ( scallops, chunks of fish, etc ) marinated in lemon/lime juice until the flesh is firm - typically 3 hours or longer. This marinating cause the proteins in the seafood to become denatured ( the cells are solidified ) - or as we more commonly know it - cooked. The acid does not kill bacteria and parasites as well as heat does, so it’s important to start with the freshest, cleanest fish possible.

It is typically served in small portions, as the seafood will retain a slightly raw taste to it, though it is cooked. It is also mixed with sliced onions, tomatoes, and leaf seasonings like cilantro.

CE reader Jolie has a lovely, simple ( chunky! ) recipe  over on her blog 

Here is a lovely collection of seviche recipes from various countries though there are few pics...

And here is the one I made :


  • 2 lbs of firm, fresh red snapper fillets (or other firm-fleshed fish), cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely deboned ( I used shrimp, as my husband dislikes fish )
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh seeded tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Dash of ground oregano
  • Dash of Tabasco or a light pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips


In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices. Let sit for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend.

During the marinating process the fish will change from pinkish grey and translucent, to whiter in color and opaque. Serve with chopped cilantro and slices of avocado with heated tortillas for ceviche tacos or with tortilla chips.