It has been a great week full of sun and zero rain here in the Seattle area, this is what everyone who has had to endure the very long winter and cold spring have been waiting for, obviously this means that I have been trying to spend as much time outside and away from the computer, but I can’t overcome my blogging addiction and have so many great summer recipes to share. Ceviche is one of those refreshing dishes that is perfect for the summer or anytime (especially when you have a hangover). This is my brother’s recipe for fish ceviche, whenever he visits he knows that he will have to make ceviche for us, this is great because not only is his ceviche awesome but he also does all the work (dicing the fish and vegetables and squeezing all those limes is hard work). Ramon uses shallots instead of onions, he finds the shallots to be much closer to the Ecuadorian cebolla paiteña, and he also adds some spicy hot peppers and garlic when the fish is “cooking” in the lime juice to infuse a little spiciness into the fish.
Ecuadorian ceviche – which for most of my life I thought was the only real ceviche – is different than it’s Peruvian counterpart in that the ceviche is soupier, the fish is served in the lime juice with tomatoes, peppers, onions (or shallots in this case) and chopped cilantro, it is typically served in a bowl with chifles, patacones, popcorn or corn nuts and eaten with a spoon; while the Peruvian version is served without the juice and with pickled onions, sweet potatoes, and corn on the side. For me (and many other Ecuadorians) the juice is an essential component and one of the best parts is drinking up the juice at the end. Ceviche can be made with many different types of seafood and non-seafood ingredients, but typically ceviche made with fish is the one where lime juice “cooks” the fish, for other types of ceviches -shrimp, octopus – the seafood is actually cooked with regular heat and then marinates with the lime juice and vegetables. It essentially depends on the seafood, the more delicate and the fresher seafood is more likely it is to be cooked with lime juice, or some like the ceviche de concha, a ceviche made from fresh black clams, is usually made fresh right before you – the black clam ceviche is very special and doesn’t appeal to everyone, so people either love it or hate it.
My final two-cents on ceviche, especially on eating ceviche in Ecuador, it is best to try ceviche at the beach or on the coast. The highlands are not the ideal place to eat seafood ceviches (there are a few good places but I wouldn’t walk it to any random restaurant and order ceviche in the highlands, you have to know where to go). It really drives me crazy when I talk to someone who complains about the seafood in Ecuador but yet only had seafood in the mountains – like my dear husband.
2 lbs of white fish fillets (corvina, halibut, sea bass, tilapia, sole), cut into small square pieces
2-3 hot peppers, red chilies or serranos, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4-5 large shallots, peeled and sliced finely
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced very finely
2 bell peppers, 1 orange and 1 yellow, diced finely
20 limes, separated into about 10 limes to cook the fish and 10 limes for the ceviche marinade
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped as finely as possible
2-3 tbs sunflower oil
Salt to taste
- Place the raw fish pieces in a glass dish and cover it with salt, hot peppers, crushed garlic, a tablespoon of chopped cilantro, and lime juice from about 10 limes, the fish should be completely covered by lime juice.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill, let the fish cook itself in the lime juice for at least 4 hours.
- Place the sliced shallots in a bowl, cover them with warm water and salt, let rest for at least 10 minutes, drain and rinse well.
- Once the fish is “cooked” in the lime juice rinse it well, removing the hot peppers, garlic and cilantro.
- Combine the fish with the shallots, tomatoes, bell peppers, cilantro, and lime juice from remaining 10 limes, sunflower oil and salt to taste in a large non-reactive bowl, mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve with chifles, patacones, popcorn or corn nuts as well as with some good hot sauce or aji.
More ceviche recipes: