When I first ate ceviche in a restaurant in San Francisco, I wasn’t particularly impressed. It tasted ok, but there was nothing about it that really spoke to me or got me excited. Then, we visited a friend of mine in Panama and everything changed! I had ceviche made fresh and on the spot by a street vendor, and I was actually amazed. It was beautiful in its simplicity.
I’ve tried ceviche in different cities since then, doing some research on where it’s supposed to be the best. I am now a committed ceviche lover; it’s my favourite raw fish dish!
Until recently, I’d never tried to make it, but my visit to Miami this spring inspired me! I came back to Toronto and found myself craving really good ceviche. The ceviche at Seven Lives (my favourite cafe in Toronto’s Kensington Market) is pretty good, but given how far away the cafe is from where I live, and given how frequent my cravings for ceviche were, combined with a sudden urge to try making something new, I decided to give throwing together my own ceviche a shot.
I read several articles and blogs, over an afternoon and then biked over to my neighbourhood fish shop, Beach Fish House (which is absolutely wonderful, by the way; they sell sustainably fished seafood and it’s always really fresh! (I also grabbed some lovely Peonies)).
You should try making it too! Here is a dish one can make quickly and easily, and it’s almost guaranteed to taste good as long as you use good quality ingredients! Of course, the selection of ingredients and the proportion of the ingredients is important too. Overall though, it’s a relatively simple dish to put together.
So go for it!
What follows is a recipe for a pretty basic ceviche. Once you are comfortable with the dish, you can play around with it by adding or substituting other fish and/or by adding various fruit and other flavours to it (like mango, or watermelon, or orange juice!).
Two small notes though:
Size and Shape of the Fish: The shape and size of the fish pieces you use in the ceviche, along with the amount of time you leave the fish in the lime juice, will determine the texture of the fish. This is because it is the acidity of the lime/lemon juice that “cooks”, breaks down, or softens the flesh of the fish. I like to cut the fish into cubes to ensure more even cooking (as the lime juice “cooks” the fish from the outside. You can cut the fish into whatever sized cube you like, however, the smaller the cube the faster the fish will “cook” in the lime juice. I find it’s easier to control the process so that I can stop the “cooking” process at the right time, if the cubes are a little larger.
Time: As for the time, for tuna, I like to leave the fish in the lime juice for any where between 12-15 minutes. The acidity of the lime or lemon juice one uses can vary. So around 12 minutes in, I will try out a piece of fish and see if I like it.
One big bowl
A good quality knife for the raw fish
A cutting board
A citrus juicer (optional)
One red onion
A small bunch of cilantro/coriander (adjust to taste, I use about 1/3 cup)
1-2 jalapeños, maya habenero peppers, or Thai green chillies
1/2 cup lime/lemon juice
1 pound sushi grade tuna (make sure the fish is fresh and handle it safely. Carry it on ice from the store is possivle and place it in the fridge over ice as soon as you get home)
1. Dice the red onion up evenly and place it in the big bowl.
2. Chop the cilantro/coriander and green chillies up and add them to the bowl, as well.
3. Juice the lime/lemon and add it to the bowl, tossing all the ingredients together.
4. Cut the tuna into small cubes about a centimetre sized. (See note above about size and shape of the fish).
5. Toss the fish into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix them together gently.
6. Salt if you like.
7. Set the bowl aside and wait for anywhere between 12-15 minutes.
8. Enjoy your ceviche with some Tortilla chips (preferably homemade !).
I made a little tortilla, roasted it until it was crisp, and then placed the ceviche on it 🙂 (I will write a separate post about how to make tortillas soon! In the meantime, you can go here.