Ceviche - a dish redefined each time it is served.

Playful and exotic, ceviche offers a unique explosion of different flavors and textures. Don’t play by the rules with this dish. Start with raw fish, add citrus, and leave the rest to the imagination. It is perfect for warm weather, tasting cool and light in the summer sun. Yet its tangy flavor is a perfect juxtaposition to the fuller rich flavors traditional in the dead of winter. One mouthful is enough to transport you to another latitude.

Traditional marinades are citrus-based, with lemons and limes providing the tart acidity to contrast the smooth flavors of the fish. Don’t stop there, consider grapefruit as a delightful twist or Meyer lemons or Key limes. Not only does the citrus act as a powerful flavor enhancer, but the acid causes the proteins in the seafood to pickle, changing the color of the surface. This leads to the common misconception that the citrus is “cooking” the fish. Don’t be fooled however, choose only the freshest “Sushi grade fish.” Most recipes use squid, octopus, scallops, clams, mackerel, and pompano or similar mild white fish. Shrimp ceviche offers a delightful alternative to the standard shrimp cocktail.

The birthplace of ceviche is a matter of contention. Some say Peru, others argue Ecuador, but almost all Latin American countries have their own local take on the tradition. That is the beauty of this dish—it is a playground for far flung interpretations. Feel free to mix regions and styles within the dish and from dish to dish. Improvisation is the heart of ceviche.

Raw fish and citrus might seem repetitive, but with the variations among cultural styles the recipes are remarkably different. Typical Peruvian ceviches are accompanied with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn. In Ecuador, ceviches are topped with popcorn. In Mexico, ceviche is served with slices of raw onion, toasted tortillas, and avocado. Tomatoes are sometimes added, making a luscious, savory preparation. Cubans often use mahi-mahi and habanero pepper, sometimes substituting tuna. In the Philippines, ceviche is prepared like most Latin American counterparts, but julienned fresh ginger is added resulting in a very savory punch of flavor.

Be sure not to discard the unused marinade. Ecuadorians call this “tiger milk” and use it to cure hangovers. As an added bonus, it is great mixed with Imperia vodka, with a few cubes ceviche for a twist on smoked salmon cocktails…. Delicious!


Want something even a bit more unusual? Our chef has an idea for you.

Gavin Roberts- Chef de Partie:

If ceviche seems too exotic, or you are concerned with such a non-traditional presentation (served in martini glasses, or served on a silver spoon), consider a more traditional presentation that takes advantage of the classic ceviche paring, but in a way that presents more akin to mainstream sensibilities.

Ceviche Salmon Fillet

This dish starts with a whole salmon fillet rubbed with star anise, grapefruit zest, and 1 part salt to 3 parts sugar. Add lemon juice, orange juice, and whole cinnamon sticks. Wrap the entire fillet with liquids in plastic wrap to marinate for 2 days. Unwrap, clean, and cut like traditional smoked salmon. This adds a very hip counterpoint to a more traditional smoked salmon plate while appealing to the sensibility of most guests.

This would work beautifully when themed with a “Russian” style smorgasbord. Also, the same preparation could also be used to prepare a similar “Poke” styled dish. Finally remember, the ingredients can be kosher and contain no animal products.


Ready to experiment….?

An easy way to start is with shrimp ceviche.  Or if you are ready to swim in some uncharted waters, you could try Charlie tuna, Caribbean style.   Be sure to mix and match a bit….prepare shrimp and scallopceviche for that next special dinner.


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