We’ve had some beautiful weather here lately in Northern California. It’s been sunny and warm, with temperatures hovering around the high 60’s, low 70’s.
It’s been rough guys, real rough.
Last week, it was so warm that Matt and I decided to break out the new cornhole boards, set up the BBQ and play outside with the puppy and some friends. I thought our menu needed to include foods that matched the weather, so why not try my hand at ceviche? I had never made ceviche before and was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but I was so surprised at how easy it was.
Ceviche is made by combining raw fish with tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeno, and citrus (traditionally, with a combination of lime and lemon juice) together and letting it marinate to “cook” the fish. It is then served cold, on or with a tostada (fried, flat tortilla), or with chips. But how does this process of marinating “cook” the fish, and why do I keep putting quotations around the word ‘cook’?
The citric acid in the marinade changes the protein molecules through a process called denaturation, where the proteins in the fish unravel, changing their chemical and physical properties. They are no longer in their natural state – they have been denatured. The process of heating also changes the proteins through denaturation, but we often use the term ‘cooking’ mostly in relationship with heat. So while no heat is used to make ceviche, the end result is essentially the same. The only other thing I would note here is that citric acid does not kill all bacteria, so it’s important to choose fresh fish from a good source for health and safety reasons.
For my ceviche, I used tilapia, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro and freshly squeezed lime & lemon juice from the tree outside.
You can experiment with other types of fish including shellfish, and even combine multiple types of fish in one recipe (hello, shrimp + scallop combination – doesn’t that sound good?). You’ll need to adjust the marinating time based on the type of fish you use.
Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche)
- 1 lb. fresh, wild caught tilapia
- 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 large cucumber, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1/4 cup cilantro
Other Tools Needed:
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Measuring cups/spoons
- Large mixing bowl
- Plastic wrap
Take the tilapia filets, dice them into very small cubes and place them into the mixing bowl. Consistency is key here, you want all the cubes to be roughly the same size. Do the same with the Roma tomatoes and cucumber, and an even finer dice with the red onion and jalapeno. Finally, juice the lemon and limes and add the seasonings and cilantro. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate. Mine was ready to eat in about an hour and a half.
This ceviche is best when served with grain-free tortillas, tostadas, or tortilla chips. Some of my favorite paleo friendly options that you can make right at home are found here:
- Paleo Tortilla Chips from Ashley at My Heart Beets.
- Paleo Tortilla Chips from Elena at Elena’s Pantry.
- Simple Paleo Tortillas from Steph at Stupid Easy Paleo.
- Tostadas from Simone at Zen Belly (scroll down for the tostada recipe)
The other option is to serve with lettuce cups, which does the trick but can get a little messy if you don’t layer the letuce cups together, or to just eat straight from the bowl. Not going to lie, I ate striaght from the bowl. And it was good.
This recipe makes a pretty large batch of ceviche – great for a party or BBQ where it can be consumed in one day. Ceviche is not the kind of dish you want to save for leftovers, so adjust the recipe as needed to consume within a day.
Nutrition Facts & Serving Size:
This recipe makes approximately 12, 1/2 cup servings. Recipe yields may vary slightly. If you are following a meal plan, please adjust your servings to fit your meal plan as needed.
*Nutritional values given in this post are approximate. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete and useful.
So for us folks who are daydreaming about long summer days and warm summer nights, just whip up a batch of this ceviche, pull out your favorite funky sunglasses, and bring the summer to YOU.
Until next time,