I had never liked ceviche until we lived in Nicaragua — surprisingly, although most of their food was pretty bland, the ceviche was really good! I still only like it with fish, not shrimp or any other sea creature, though. My son and I have been plotting homemade ceviche for a couple of years now, and this recipe seems like a good start. There are as many ways to make ceviche as there are curry – in short, an endless number! But you have to start somewhere…
NOTE: ceviche isn’t raw fish. The acid in the citrus (lime and lemon particularly) breaks down the proteins and “cooks” the fish without heat. Get a good, fresh fish, or a quality frozen piece.
For the Fish
2 pounds white fish fillet – (cod, halibut, mahi mahi, tilapia, snapper, sea bass) chopped into small, bite-size square pieces — I used wild tilapia
2 serrano peppers – sliced very thin
4 cloves garlic – smashed (I crushed mine, not paying attention – but it was fine!)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro – chopped
2 tsp salt
10 limes – juiced (enough to fully cover the fish in lime juice)
1 large grapefruit – juiced
2 oranges – juiced
For the Ceviche
2-3 shallots – thinly sliced (you can use yellow, red or sweet onion instead)
3 tsp salt – divided
5 Roma tomatoes – seeded and diced — I used diced grape tomatoes
2 small bell peppers – seeded and diced — I didn’t use
10 limes – juiced
1 small bunch fresh cilantro – chopped
1 tbsp olive oil (optional – not traditional)
hot sauce – to taste (optional)
To marinate the fish, cut it into small, even dice. (The smaller the pieces, the faster it will “cook” in the citrus juice.) Squeeze the limes, orange, and grapefruit into the bowl. If the fish isn’t covered with liquid, add more lime juice. Add the peppers, garlic, salt, and cilantro and stir. Put in a bowl with the remaining “For the Fish” ingredients. (I made half.) Cover and refrigerate.
NOTE: For half the recipe, I used 5 limes, 1 orange, and half a grapefruit and it was MORE than enough to cover the fish. Of course, juiciness will vary, but I could have used 1 less lime and half the orange and still had plenty.
The fish needs to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour, and up to about 4. Stir and taste every hour. Different varieties of fish will take differing amounts of time, and your marinating time will also depend on your preference. For us, 1 hour and 15 min was perfect. (You want all the outside of the fish to be white at minimum.)
Meanwhile, slice the shallots thinly and put in a bowl with 2 tsp salt. Cover with hot (not boiling) water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse WELL. (You may remember that I did this onion/salt/water thing once before without great success… Make sure you rinse well! Also, to be honest, I don’t think you need this step unless you’re really sensitive to onions.) Set aside.
Combine the diced tomatoes, shallots, and bell pepper, and 1 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Squeeze the juice of “5-10 limes” over the veggies.
So, TIME OUT. There is no reason to use so many limes on this stage of the process, especially since the next step is to let it sit 15 min and then pour out half anyway. I did half, used 2 limes, and it was plenty.
Drain by half.
When the fish is ready to your preference, remove the smashed garlic (unless you crushed it like I did and then never mind!). At this point, the blog doesn’t say to drain the fish, but if the fish is cooked how you like it, you can’t leave it in the marinade to keep cooking. I used a slotted spoon and removed everything solid from the bowl. Add it to your tomato/shallot combo and mix. I also poured out a bit more of the lime juice from the tomato mixture, since again, I don’t want my fish to keep cooking.
Mix in the cilantro. Add a drizzle of olive oil and hot sauce if desired. (You could serve the hot sauce on the side.)
RP Servings: Half was 2-3 as an appetizer, about 1 1/2 as a main
RATING: 4.5 – easily a 5
We’re pretty excited that I’ve found a good ceviche recipe! For more authenticness (which is apparently not a word but should be!), I’ll cut the veggies in half. Nica ceviche is fish-dominant, and this was half or more veg. And it’s easy!
I wouldn’t bother with shallots when a regular onion would do, and all those limes definitely weren’t necessary. You can add small-diced cucumber and/or avocado, or serve the avocado on the side. Often, in Nicaragua, ceviche is served with plantain or yucca chips on the side.