"'Cause it's too darn hot, it's too darn hot…"

by Katie Pizzuto on April 29, 2009

in ceviche,Cooking

ceviche4When the weather gets hot, a lot of people lose their appetite. I’m not one of those people, mind you, but I have heard that it’s been known to happen. Granted, I’m not running to the oven to make an oxtail stew when the outdoor thermometer actually starts to sweat, but if hot weather is supposed to equal a drop in appetite, I guess my stomach never got the memo. Ceviche is one of those dishes that I love to make on a hot lazy Sunday while putting down a beer or two, and I seldom get any complaints from the peanut gallery, so I made some this weekend and decided to share the wealth—I apologize in advance for the lacking scratch ‘n’ sniff on your screen.


ceviche1Ceviche is one of those things that I get my panties into a bunch about—much like I do with caprese salads, martinis and sushi—make it right, otherwise, don’t call it ceviche. I don’t really care what kind of fish you use when you make it, but for the love of Pete, do NOT cook any of it! When you make your ceviche, the citric acid in the lime juice (or lemon if you’re a weirdo) causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which basically pickles or “cooks” the fish without heat. I get that there are people out there that live in perpetual fear that their fish will not be completely cooked through when they sit to chow down, I do—and those people should go poach a salmon and leave ceviche the hell alone. Leave the raw fish in the acid for at least 3 hours and you’ll be peachy keen…seriously, why would you wanna eat the dish before then anyway? The marinade will not have had enough time to do its magic.


ceviche2You can pretty much use whatever type of fish you like (preferably white fish). One of my favorites is grouper, but sea bass is also very popular in Peru, where the dish originated. Cut the fish into small chunks and put them in a large bowl. After that, you’ll need to halve a bunch of limes and squeeze the ever-loving shit out of them. One by one, roll each lime back and forth on the counter with the heel of your hand. This bruises the pulp inside a bit, making it easier to squeeze. Then, halve them along what I call the “belly” which means NOT top to bottom. This also makes the squeezing more fruitful. Then go to town. When you’re ceviche3done, the limes should look like the photo on the right. If yours don’t, go back and squeeze some more you sloth!! The only other slicing & dicing required is some red onion (very thinly sliced) and plenty of cilantro. Again, I’m gonna put a proverbial foot down—if you don’t like cilantro, go away and make something else. Don’t use basil and call it an Italian ceviche, whack job. The damned dish calls for cilantro. Most Peruvians will also add some diced rocoto, a super-hot pepper, but I’ve seen it made with jalapenos and other milder peppers for the less ballsy. Then season the whole shebang, toss it really well, cover it, and throw it in the fridge. Resist any temptation to dig in for at least 3 hours, though I’ve often let it sit overnight. If your resistance is low, distract yourself by cleaning the dust off the tops of your wall art, which is long overdue.


ceviche51I’d happily eat ceviche on its own, with nothing but a hunk of crusty bread to sop up the “leche de tigre” (I’ll explain in a minute) but it’s traditionally served with a slice or two of sweet potato and/or some corn. As for the leche de tigre (which means tiger’s milk), that’s the leftover milky marinade that sits at the bottom of the ceviche bowl. Peruvian culture would tell you that a shot made of the marinade and some local pisco serves as a great hangover remedy. Me, personally, I’ll just merrily dunk my bread in the stuff and keep my shot of pisco straight, chased by my ice-cold Cristal beer.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linsey April 29, 2009

I have never had ceviche – but i am a fan of rollmops – which is herring marinaded in a vinegar then rolled with onions inside – i love a bit of that with other seafood and soda bread or granary bread for lunch


2 jshively April 29, 2009

I second about the lemon/lime juice should do the “cooking” nothing else. People are overly paranoid and I am constantly amazed by my friends who order beef torched to hell.

Mine always gets at least 1 habanerno thrown into the mix because spicy is a good thing.

Oh yeah thanks for the reminder I should dust tonight.

Looks great and I will take mine with a couple tostadas please.


3 Katie Pizzuto April 29, 2009

Sounds like a similar process, Linsey…you’d probably love ceviche as long as you like the herb cilantro. That’s a love it or hate it kinda herb and it’s a dominant flavor in this.

@jshively…agreed, and love how paranoid people are with cooking pork to a slightly pink center! This time, the pepper I used was actually a crushed red Indian pepper that I love. Now go dust! LOL!


4 Linsey April 29, 2009

cilantro is coriander isnt it? – to be honest i have never had it … its usually in curries over here and i dont like them


5 Katie April 29, 2009

Yup, it’s the leaves of the coriander plant, and yes, often used in curries. There is even an ihatecilantro.com website!


6 Linsey May 2, 2009

i have just made this – its now sitting in the fridge to be eaten as a starter for dinner time- i will tell you how i like it later

and yes i bought cilantro/coriander and im using cod

time will tell on the taste buds lol


7 Linsey May 2, 2009

oh and im also making my own rollmops today

4-6 herring fillets – soak for 3 hours in 1 pint cold water with 3 tablespoons of salt

boil 1 pint of white wine vinegar with 3 bayleaves, 1 tablespoon pickling spices, 8 peppercorns and leave to go cold

roll the herring fillets up with sliced onion, pickled gherkin inside and put into a container with a tight lid

pour over the cold vinegar

put lid on

leave for at least 4 days

will see how that works too 🙂


8 Katie Pizzuto May 2, 2009

Awesome Linsey! Please let me know how both turn out!!!


9 Linsey May 2, 2009

it was yummy – i had the ceviche with spicy hot prawns and smoked salmon – and well still waiting on the rollmops – tell you in 4 days


10 mydailywine May 3, 2009

Great reminder that I need to get my ceviche on soon!
I also like the Maori version I picked up in Oz.Add a dash of unsweetened coconut milk to the lime juice marinade.

Also, the Hawaiian poke version. Add some soy sauce and slivers of seaweed to the marinade.

Yum. I still prefer thick fresh corn tostadas to bread for any of the above.


11 Linsey May 6, 2009

i had the rollmops tonite – and hehe im quite proud of myself for a first time try – they were really nice

they keep for about 2 weeks in the vinegar – so more to come

its my birthday on friday – and saturday im going out for the day to one place i know i can get deli stuff – so im gonna have deli meats, more rollmops and sea food – yay


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