Ceviche – Cool, Fresh, Craveworthy‏

by Jon Alexis

Who among us doesn’t crave something cool and citrusy when the thermometer starts going crazy? Now how about something cool and citrusy that can be made in the AC and doesn’t even require a stove or grill?

For these reasons, as well as being delicioso, ceviche is the perfect summer dish. Unlike the burgers and hot dogs we pound all summer long, this is a dish you can eat by the pool…and still look good in your bathing suit the next day.

Ceviche is not a specific recipe, although there are some basic guidelines: fresh raw fish “cooked” in citrus juice, mixed with vegetables and spices. Combine and let sit a few hours or even over night.   

Weirded out by eating fish that you didn’t put in a hot oven? Don’t be. If the fish is fresh the dish is safe. (Shop at an award-winning fishmonger hint hint.) 

As we Texans tend to do with many Latin American dishes, many gabachos think ceviche is a Mexican dish. While ceviche is popular in Mexico, it was probably invented in Peru.

Ceviche recipes differ in ingredients and flavors throughout the different regions of Latin America.

Before we give you world tour of Ceviche, credit must be give to Chef Stephan Pyles for highlighting modern ceviche culture in Dallas. The Stephan Pyles Ceviche Bar is world class: exciting, exotic and fresh.

If the fish is fresh the dish is safe.

Ceviches of the Latin America:

Peru – The original! Key limes and bitter orange flavor this dish, and sweet potatoes and corn on the cob add some heft. Sorry to use the “F word”, but a popular Peruvian/Japanese fusion dish features sashimi cut fish marinated ceviche style for mere minutes.

Ecuador – Shrimp and a soupier tomato base. When making at home, remember for any shellfish, cook lightly 1-2 minutes before curing. For real authenticity, serve with…popcorn!

Chile – The addition of grapefruit, mint and cilantro makes this ceviche unique. Of course Chilean sea bass is the preferred fish.

Mexico – The variety we are most familiar with here in Texas, with lime, cilantro, tomato and avocado, serverd in a tostada bowl.

Guatemala – Often features black clams, Worcestershire sauce and hot peppers. Top of my list of ceviche dishes I’ve never tried.

Caribbean/Florida – Conch replaces fish with pequin or scotch bonnet peppers.

Even with all of these varieties, ceviches lend themselves to creativity. Add cucumber or avocado to cool it down. Mayo or sour cream to make it creamier. Use any white fish, or try tuna or salmon for a radically different flavor. Sub lobster or scallop for a modern twist. Serve over greens for a great salad. In martini glass for a standing cocktail party…in a big bowl with tortilla chips for a family-style casual dinner.

Jon Alexis is co-owner and fishmonger at TJ’s Seafood Market on Preston Road in North Dallas, and appreciates a good ceviche when he tastes one.



Filed under beer, chefs, Crave, Food Porn Alert, Jon Alexis, Seafood, TJ's Seafood Market

13 responses to “Ceviche – Cool, Fresh, Craveworthy‏

  1. Adam

    In all my travels throughout Ecuador, I don’t recall tasting ceviche that had popcorn in it.

    I also never recall seeing key lime used in all my Peruvian travels.

    Ceviche should NOT be marinated a few hours, and definitely not overnight. You want to preserve the fresh and pure flavor of the fish, and it is thus best consumed minutes after soaking in the citrus.

    The dish developed as a way for coastal slaves in Perú and southern Ecuador to consume their fish since they were prohibited from using fire to cook.

    The sashimi dish to which the writer refers is tiradito. The best I tried was in Piura, in northern Perú.

    Check out this video from Cevícheria Sonia for an authentic ceviche recipe (a good chance to brush up on your culinary Spanish from one of the greatest Cevícherias in Perú): http://restaurantsonia.com/recetas_sonia.php?id=1

  2. Luli Vazquez

    Adam – I am from Ecuador, and I always recall putting (fresh, hot) popcorn in our ceviche. Which areas of EC have you visited? I am from Cuenca, but have traveled to Guayaquil, Salinas, Manta, Esmeraldas… all serve ceviche with popcorn and/or “chifles” (crispy plantain chips).

    Nice to see you’ve been to so much of S. America!

    • Adam

      I recall getting popcorn served on the side, but just munched on it and did not put it in my ceviche. By the sound of it, I was missing out.

      Either way, the popcorn and corn on the cob here is hardly worthy of ceviche. Flavorless compared to choclo and the many other types they use up there.

      I studied abroad in Ecuador and was mainly based in Quito, but made it to a couple parts of the coast, hiked los Ilinizas (Norte), shopped Otavalo, explored a few different parts of the Amazon, chased a penguin in the Galapagos, and sadly never made it to Cuenca. I hope I can get back there in the next few years and change that.

  3. I remember Ciudad used to have a fabulous ceviche…

  4. Bill

    Luli Vazquez I am glad you mentioned that you remember having popcorn as I also remember it. I am also a big fan of tiradito and prefer it this way. Many places in Miami have this option. Never have been to Guatemala but the dish sounds very interesting.

  5. Tony

    Looks like the top photo is Taco Diner ceviche. It is pretty good.
    One of my favorite ceviche is Tillman’s roadhouse in Bishop Arts area. It’s actually a salmon ceviche with avacado and a spicy sauce, and more ingredients, atop a chalupa type bread. It’s wonderful.

  6. Komali’s is outstanding. i want to try it with popcorn now, who knew!

  7. Thank you, Bill. And yay for the popcorn revolution! Make sure it’s hot (and only a little bit at a time – sogginess = bad). 🙂

  8. Nicki

    Seafood Shack on Webbs Chapel is good. Drink the tigers milk.

  9. regionally diverse food cultures are the best, and ceviche is one of the richest. we love to hear from everyone who knows MORE than us about regional ceviches! please, tell us more and share recipes.

    TJ’s is doing a ceviche demo at Taste of Dallas on Sunday @ 1:30, come on by!

  10. I would never claim to know more than TJ’s – I’ve heard great things about you guys. I’d love to come to the demo, but I’ll be out of town! I’ll be on the lookout for your next one, though.

  11. Jose, a 16-year employee at TJ’s – his abuela’s recipe is still served today at her well-known restaurant “Potosi” in Acapulco. She uses fresh squeezed orange juice, ketchup and oregeno with tilapia. He’s making me some tonight to try tomorrow.

  12. sorry to be clear – Ceviche demo Sunday July 10 at Taste of Dallas. not this sunday.

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