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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP OF THE DAY & FOOD HOLIDAY: National Ceviche Day

Ceviche with a fried plaintain garnish. Photo
courtesy Chef Todd English | MXDC.

 

The third annual National Ceviche Day is June 28th. The holiday started in Peru, where ceviche is the national dish.

Ceviche, seafood served chilled, is delicious any time of the year, but is especially refreshing in summer. It’s a great dish: high in protein, low in calories, with as many recipe variations as there are cooks to create them.

Ceviche (pronounced say-VEE-chay) starts with raw fish and/or shellfish that is marinated and cured in citrus juice. The highly acidic citrus juice creates a chemical reaction in the proteins, the result of which is similar to what happens when the fish is cooked with heat. As the fish marinates, you can see it change from translucent to opaque. For people who avoid raw fish: Consider ceviche to be cooked.

We don’t know how long ceviche has existed, only that it has been around for more than 500 years. In the early 1500s, the Spanish conquistadors wrote of an Inca dish of raw fish marinated in chicha, a fermented maize beer.

 

The Spanish contributed lime and onion, ingredients that are integral to modern ceviche. In fact, the term “ceviche” is thought to come from the Spanish escabeche, meaning marinade.

Ceviche has spread over Latin America, with both Ecuador and Peru claiming to have originated the dish. Both were part of the Incan Empire. But why quibble: Today, ceviche—or seviche or sebiche, depending on the country—is so popular that there are cevicherias, restaurants that specialize in ceviche.

Each country adds its own spin based on local seafood and preference for ingredients like avocado. The classic marinade is called leche de tigre, tiger’s milk: lime juice, sliced onion, chiles, salt, pepper and often a bit of juice runoff from the fish. Some preparations add a dressing of ketchup or a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise. Don’t be afraid to customize a recipe with your favorite ingredients.

CREATE YOUR OWN SPECTACULAR CEVICHE

You can use our ceviche recipe template to create your own signature ceviche. Here’s what to drink with ceviche.

The classic ceviche is fluke marinated with aji rocoto (a very hot Peruvian chile) and cilantro. A mixto (fluke, octopus, shrimp, squid) with avocado, onion and tomato is also popular, as are hundreds of variations, including contemporary versions with ingredients from apple to zucchini. Here are some of variations from restaurants in our area:

  • Ceviche, marinated in leche de tigre and aji chilies and served with red onion, cilantro, yams and choclo (Peruvian corn with jumbo kernels); Crab, arctic char, shrimp; Arctic char with aji amarillo, avocado and soy-lime dressing; fish that is cut sashimi style (at Costanera Cocina Peruana)
  • Mahi-mahi in citrus juice with fermented pepper, napa cabbage, cucumber, cilantro, red onion, nori garnish; shrimp ceviche in leche de tigre with red onion, pomegranate, chives, avocado and dashi; bay scallop ceviche with lime, Thai sweet chile, avocado, peanut, mint, crispy shallot garnish; fluke ceviche with guanabana (soursop, a South American fruit), grapefruit, lychee, cucumber, serrano chile and avocado sorbet (at Richard Sandoval Restaurants)
  • Mahi-mahi with guanabana, grapefruit, red onion, serrano chile, avocado, tomatillo and pico de gallo; shrimp ceviche with aji panca, hearts of palm, roasted corn, fresh orange, serrano chile and a bonito garnish; sea bass with aji amarillo, red onion, cucumber, apple, tomato and a shiso garnish (at Richard Sandoval Restaurants)
  •  

    ASIAN-FUSION CEVICHE

    Peru has a large Japanese population, which has resulted in “fusion ceviche” by adding traditional Japanese ingredients—daikon radish, kaiware sprouts, ponzu sauce, scallions, sesame, shiso, ume, yuzu, soy sauce, wasabi.
     
    HOW TO SERVE CEVICHE

    In addition to conventional dishware—plates and bowls—consider:

  • Martini Glasses. Served in martini glasses like they do at top restaurants, and this simple fish preparation becomes a luxury experience.
  • Shot glasses. Serve ceviche in shot glasses, with small seafood forks, as an accompaniment to cocktails.
  •  

    A tasting trio. Photo © Pampano Botaneria | NYC.

     

    CEVICHE RECIPES

  • Master Ceviche Template: choose your favorite ingredients
  • Lobster Ceviche
  • Shrimp Ceviche
  • Trout Ceviche (or other fish of choice)
  • Wasabi Ceviche with mixed seafood
  •   





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