What is ceviche anyways?Basically ceviche is slices or chunks of raw fish, or shellfish, tossed with an acidic marinade, usually plain citrus juice like lime, lemon, or orange juice and then mixed with flavorings.
Is ceviche “cooked”?Its not exactly cooked as cooking requires heat. However the citric acid from the juice of the citrus marinade slowly causes the fish proteins to denature, much the same way that heating will. The result is slices of raw fish with the opaque appearance and texture of cooked fish.Even though its not “cooked” it doesn’t taste raw. But it doesn’t totally taste cooked either!
Can ceviche be overcooked?Yes, sort of… Eat it too soon, and you end up with fish that’s nearly raw. Let it sit too long, and your fish gets all flakey and falls apart on you.In my opinion, the best ceviche is made about 30 – 45 mins before you are going to eat it.
Is ceviche safe to eat?Yup it is. The denaturing process rearranges the proteins in the same way that cooking the fish does so its safe to eat.The only thing is that this process doesn’t kill off any bacteria or parasites that might be lurking in the fish which is why its very important to use the freshest fish possible.The absolute best way to make sure that ceviche is safe is to use sushi grade fish. That means that the fish has been frozen for at least a week at -40. Freezing at that temperature ensures that all parasites that could be lurking in the fish have been killed.
What’s the best fish to use for ceviche?The best fish is the freshest fish, but pretty much any fish will work for ceviche. We prefer to use a firm, white-fleshed fish like cod or halibut. Actually, salmon works great too and salmon ceviche is kick ass!Here’s how to buy select the best fresh fish.
- Go to a trusted source. The best is obviously to catch it yourself, or if you’re lucky, know someone who does. Next best is a good fishmonger. It can be a little tough to find one, but keep looking. I found fresh fish at a smaller local farmers market. Just ask them where they get their fish and what days they get their shipments in. Then buy accordingly.
- Give it a smell. Fresh fish should not have a fishy smell at all, at most giving off a faintly briny, ocean-like aroma.
- Test for firm flesh. Fresh fish flesh should have a clean, slightly translucent appearance that doesn’t give when you push. If you poke it with your finger and it leaves a permanent dent don’t buy it.
- Check the eyes. Fresh fish should have bright, clear, moist looking eyes. Don’t buy fish with dark or cloudy eyes.
Ingredients in halibut cevicheThere are endless ways to make ceviche. The ingredients that we have used in this version are:
- red onion
- any other kind of fish like: prawns, salmon, scallops, tuna…
- green onions
- another citrus juice like lemon or orange juice
How to make halibut ceviche:Making halibut ceviche can be done in just a few easy steps:
- first wash your halibut and pat it dry (paper towel works best). Slice or dice your fish into small chunks. A really sharp knife works wonders for cutting fish! This is the one that I have and I LOVE it.
- squeeze your lime juice into a bowl. This citrus squeezer works great and catches any seeds for you! Add the halibut to the lime juice and toss it to coat all the fish. Cover it and put it in the fridge for 30 mins.
- meanwhile, dice and slice your pineapple, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno. When 30 mins is up, add them to the fish. Add the coconut milk and the salt and toss gently to combine.
- dice the avocado and add it to the bowl and stir gently.
- taste it and season with a little more salt to taste. Serve right away!
Tips for getting it right
- cut your fish on a separate cutting board than your fruit and veg. It’s always good to keep them separate. I use cutting boards like these for cutting meat and fish because you can throw them in the dishwasher.
- its best to cut your fish quite small in chunks or in thin slices. They will marinate quicker and more thoroughly, but also taste better when you eat it.
- make sure to keep your fish in the fridge when its marinating.
- cut and dice the avocado last, right before your going to serve it. Otherwise it can get brown and nasty.
Can ceviche be made ahead of time?It can be. You can make it even a day ahead if you really want to, but we think it tastes best made about 30 – 45 mins ahead of time.The best way to make ceviche ahead of time is to prepare all the ingredients ahead and store them in the fridge. Squeeze your limes, slice and dice your onion, jalepeno, and pineapple or whatever else you are flavoring it with. Then put it all together just before you serve it.
What to serve with ceviche:Ceviche can be served in a few different ways, but usually its served with crunchy tortilla chips. And that’s how we like to eat it. But this halibut ceviche is good enough to just eat with a spoon!In Peru, when I ordered ceviche its came with a side of sweet potato and big crunchy corn kernels. In Mexico, it came with tortilla chips, and once in Costa Rica, it came with plantain chips which were AMAZING!
Ceviche for a crowdCeviche is lovely to serve at a party! Your guests will absolutely love it and Debbie and I serve it often when we have friends over, always with rave reviews! Here’s a few ways we do it:
- serve it as an appetizer before dinner
- in little shooter glasses with tiny spoons for a fancy presentation
- in small individual size bowls on salad plates with a few chips around the plate
Recommended Products to make this Halibut Ceviche
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Halibut Ceviche with Pineapple and Avocado
Light and fresh halibut ceviche is so full of flavor, easy to make and a great appetizer or meal option in the summer time because no heat is required!
first wash your halibut and pat it dry (paper towel works best). Slice or dice your fish into small chunks. A really sharp knife works wonders for cutting fish!
Squeeze your lime juice into a bowl. Add the halibut to the lime juice and toss it to coat all the fish. Cover it and put it in the fridge for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, dice and slice your pineapple, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno. When 30 mins is up, add them to the fish. Add the coconut milk and the salt and toss gently to combine.
Dice the avocado and add it to the bowl and stir gently. Taste it and season with a little more salt to taste. Serve right away!