Ceviche is surprisingly easy to prepare. But like most simple things in life – the difference between good and great comes down to attention to detail. Before you do anything else, make sure you get these basic five rules right before you begin:
RIGHT FISH – Most fish works for ceviche, but the best kinds are semi-firm white-fleshed ocean fish. Stay away from oily fish like mackerel, sardines and tuna. Freshwater fish like trout don’t really work either.
FRESHEST FISH – Do whatever you can to get the freshest fish possible. It’s the single most important part of this dish. Fresh fish smells like the ocean, not like fish, and its flesh should appear glossy not opaque. Aim to make the ceviche the same day you buy the fish.
COLD FISH – Store your fish in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Not only does this keep the fish fresh, it will enhance its flavor later. If you’re working with an especially large fillet, keep half of it over ice while you work on the other half.
CLEAN FISH – When preparing fish for ceviche, before you start to cut it up, you need to remove the bloodline. If left on the fish, the bloodline (the dark red portion on the fillet) will give the finished dish a really fishy flavor. Don’t forget to remove the skin and any pinbones, or have your fishmonger do it for you.
CUT-JUST-RIGHT FISH – When making ceviche, the different components should be evenly sized so they marinate evenly. This also helps with presentation and ease of eating. The fish should preferably be chopped into large, even chunks or sliced into thin pieces. The vegetables, such as peppers or onions, are best diced. But you can, for presentation sake, slice the onions very thinly.
Now that you’re armed with everything you need to know to make a flawless ceviche dish, we’ve selected our favourite, courtesy of Emeril Lagasse from the Food Network.
- 340 grams very fresh (sushi-grade) white-fleshed ocean fish
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced serrano pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely diced yellow bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 1 tablespoon good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Lime wedges, for serving
Dice the fish into roughly 1 cm pieces. Place in a glass dish with the lime juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, peppers, onions, and garlic, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the coriander, olive oil, and salt. Fold gently to mix. Serve ceviche in martini glasses and garnish with lime wedges.