Ceviche, the Latin American dish of fish and seafood “cooked” in lime juice, is straightforward to prepare at home. Once you know the basics, it’s easy to make the dish your own by adding favorite flavors.

“In my experience there are 4 essential components to ceviche: fish, lime juice, a stopwatch, and pico de gallo,” says Veggo. “Every fruit of the sea reacts differently to lime juice. Octopus and conch can go overnight. Shrimp can use 4-6 hours. White flesh fish and scallops, 2-3 hours. I think the best ‘mixed’ ceviches have the fish folded in at intervals that match their characteristics, with a mindful awareness of the serving hour.” He recommends against using oily, dark-fleshed fish such as mackerel and bluefish, and all freshwater fish due to the risk of parasites. Tuna becomes unpleasant after short contact with lime juice, he says. Fold in pico de gallo—finely diced Roma tomato, onion, cilantro, and chiles—just before serving. Many hounds poach shrimp before using them in ceviche.

It isn’t necessary to let ceviche marinate for a long time if you are happy with the texture. “The ceviche I’ve made is really simple,” says alliebear. “I used snapper and shrimp. I cut the fish and shrimp to make sure each piece was about the same size. Added diced red onions, cilantro and lots of lime juice. Enough lime juice to cover the fish. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and served. The fish and shrimp had a delicious, almost buttery taste.”

“Crushed coriander seeds to me are essential,” says chartreusevelour, because “there is a lemony flavor to the seeds that the leaves don’t have.” “Recently, I’ve been going nuts with my microplane zester and have been adding the citrus zest as well as the juice to recipes,” says taco clandestino. “It adds a whole deeper dimension to the food.” Leftovers can be bitter, however, and even more so if you have included zest.

CHOW’s Ceviche Tostadas are made with scallops and snapper.

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