I’m going to steal a blog tactic from Frances (who has an affinity for posting Panamanian recipes) and contribute one of my own, for ceviche (say-vee-chey). Ceviche is a popular seafood dish in Spanish-speaking countries. It is often sold as an appetizer or a snack. It can be made with most types of fin fish, generally delicate white fish like seabass or red snapper. It is also often made up of shrimp or octopus, at least in Panama.
Ceviche is as much a technique as it is a food. Essentially, the chosen raw fish is marinated in the juice of a combination of limes, lemons and sour oranges, along with vinegar. The acid from the fruit “cooks,” or rather pickles the fish in a short amount of time, thereby eliminating the need for heating. Simultaneously, the citric acid serves to break down the fibers of the fish and create a more tender texture. The acid also prevents the growth of microorganisms in the fish, so it can be stored for longer. Because of this “cooking,” ceviche is NOT sushi.
Depending on where you are in Latin America, the ingredients may vary, but the Panamanian version is something like the following:
YOU WILL NEED
- Any amount of white fish you would like to use (I make about a half-gallon at a time because people will eat it up quickly)
- Chopped/diced onion (one cup for every three cups of fish you make)
- Chopped/diced red and green peppers (one-half cup of each) for a festive color
- Hot sauce (only if desired) picante
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lime juice, enough to cover the fish completely
- A glass or ceramic bowl or large jar
- A box of your favorite saltine crackers for enjoying the ceviche
- Chop the white fish into small squares and put into the bowl or container you have prepared. A round Pyrex bowl is perfect.
- Add the onion, the green and red peppers (you can also use yellow). Add the hot sauce (picante) to taste. I myself do not use hot sauce, but I know that many people enjoy it.
- Cover everything well with the lime juice. It should cover the fish by at least 1/4″. Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel or cover.
- Leave on the kitchen counter overnight, or until the fish has turned the color white. 6-8 hours is about right. The fish will have cooked in the lime juice. If it is too watery, just pour some of the lime juice out.
- Refrigerate until cold. When it is cold, it is ready to be served. It will last for about a week. This is a great diet food, and you can also make shrimp ceviche, too. Just substitute the shrimp for the fish.
- Enjoy by placing a bit of the mixture on a cracker, and eat with your favorite drink. Might we suggest one of our Island Cocktails?
You can see some other variations for ideas on how to make your own ceviche. Buen provecho!