Ceviche. It’s not exactly the kind of thing that most people sit around thinking about making for dinner. I think I’ll make some Ceviche tonight… Nope. That’s not at the forefront of most people’s minds. But if you’ve been to Costa Rica and have had the good fortune of getting a taste of that fresh, tender, flavorful, and refreshing cup of deliciousness served at every roadside Ceviche stand (for $2!), not only will you be wanting it for dinner, you’ll want it for a mid-morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, and yes, even a bedtime snack. It’s that good.
But it’s such a foreign concept to most of us – cut up some raw fish, soak it in citrus juice for 20 minutes, and suddenly it’s magically “cooked.” (Here’s a great article explaining the ceviche process). I’ll admit it, I didn’t get it at first. I was even a little scared of it to be honest. Pulling over to that Costa Rican roadside Ceviche stand for the first time made me nervous. Walking up to that rickety lean-to, watching the young lady behind the counter grab a Styrofoam cup filled with “raw” but “cooked” fish out of a cooler on the side table, taking the cup (with trepidation) as she handed it to me with a handful of Saltines, and a smile on her face – it was a whole new experience for me. Yes, I even had my hubby eat it first… just in case. I figured if he didn’t keel over and die on the spot, it was probably safe.
Ceviche really is cooked! It’s just cooked with acid, not heat!
And then I tasted it! Delightful. Refreshing. Flavorful. No “fishy” taste at all. I couldn’t get enough! No wonder there’s a Ceviche roadside stand every couple of blocks along the beautiful Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This stuff is good! And addicting! We ordered a couple more (and a couple of ice cold cervezas), sat down under the palm frond thatched roof of the hut where the wooden benches overlook the waves crashing onto the shore and enjoyed every light, tasty, refreshing morsel of that Ceviche.
So when you’re in the mood for some fabulous, fresh, light and bright, healthy but satisfying Ceviche,
jump on a plane and head to Costa Rica pick up some fresh fish, a bunch of limes, a red onion, a bit of jalepeño, and some cilantro. It’s the next best thing to sitting on a beach with your toes in the warm water slurping up every last piece of a wonderful, tasty dish that few people know how to make. But now you know how! So make some tonight and watch the surprise and smiles on everyone’s face as they learn all about how delicious this not-exactly-well-known-second-cousin-to-sushi really is. And then plan your trip to Costa Rica!
- 1 Pound Firm White Fish, See note below
- 1 Cup Fresh Lime Juice, Approx 8 limes juiced
- 1/4 Red Onion, Minced
- 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 Bunch Cilantro, Chopped
- Salt and Pepper, To taste
- Cut up fish into 1 inch pieces.
- Juice limes into a medium bowl and place cut up fish into the juice. Stir and make sure all pieces are soaking in the juice. Leave fish in lime juice 20 minutes, then strain out the juice.
- While fish is soaking, mince red onion and jalapeno, and chop the cilantro. Mix together in a medium bowl. Add "cooked" fish and mix carefully. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers or tortillas.
Use the freshest white fish you can find. Preferably one that comes from the ocean. Some of the best choices are sea bass, sole, or flounder. Avoid oily fish like tuna or mackerel. Freshwater fish (like trout) isn't the best choice, but can be used in a pinch. If you absolutely need to use freshwater fish, I recommend tilapia.