The Science of Ceviche – A Summer Seafood Favorite


June 28, 2016
2365 Views

Written by Ashley Zalta, HMNS Special Events Manager

ceviche 1Nothing is more refreshing than the cool delight of eating ceviche on a hot summer’s eve. Here at HMNS, one of our exclusive caterersMélange—are experts on this summertime staple and have a few tips (and recipes!) to share.

Why can we eat ceviche raw?
The fish is actually cooked by whatever acid (lime juice, lemon juice) you use to marinate! In a process called denaturation the structure of the protein unfolds and ceases to function as normal. With food, this is typically achieved through the application of heat, but acids, bases, and salts can also have the effect. Using an acid gives the fish its “cooked” look and feel but moist texture that we desire in food. It is important to cut the pieces in such a way that the acid can thoroughly denature the protein before it is “overcooked”.

How long does it have to sit before we can eat it?
Ideally it should sit between 10-30 minutes depending on your taste. This gives the acid time to start developing the “cooked” look and feel but isn’t so long that the fish begins to get a chalky dry texture.

How long does it stay good for? (ie should a person save left overs)
Ceviche really should be eaten right then and there for the best taste and texture. But I would say if properly cared and stored (on ice the whole time) it should be edible the next day.

What are your (Mélange) ‘must have’ ingredients in a ceviche?
Lime, cilantro, olive oil, thinly sliced red onion, and of course fish! This is ceviche in it’s simplest form, the addition of tomato, jalapeno, green onion, and avocado add a nice vegetable sweetness and balance to the acidic marinade. Corn and green olives(these two ingredients go very well together) are also common additions, of course the star of the show is the fish so be sure that is the focus and that you get a nice cut of fish to use!

If different, what is your one creative specialty touch ingredient?
A good quality Spanish smoked paprika lends a nice aroma and smokiness. Habanero with mango also makes a fine shrimp ceviche, just be sure to de-seed the habanero or you won’t soon forget that experience!

Snapper Ceviche
8 oz Fresh Snapper Filet
2 tbsp Rough Chopped Cilantro Leaves
1 tbsp Small Dice Red Onion (as small as possible)
1/2 cup Lime Juice (plus zest from 1 lime)
1/4 cup Orange Juice (plus zest from 1/2 and orange)
1 each Diced Roma Tomato
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika
1 Seeded and Diced Jalapeno
Salt and Pepper to taste
Yucca Chips

Directions:

  • Slice Snapper into 1/8 inch planks. Cut those by 1 inch intervals.
  • Marinate snapper in the lime juice in the fridge for 14 minutes.
  • Drain snapper and toss with the rest of the ingredients, Serve in an ice cold glass bowl.
  • Prepare yucca chips by removing the tough brown outer layer of yucca. Using a mandolin slice yucca into 1/16 of an inch slices.
  • Fry at 350 F until golden brown and crispy, drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Serve next to the ceviche for scooping.

ceviche 2

Shrimp Ceviche (with Corn, Olives, and Avocado)
8 oz. Shrimp Peeled and Deveined
1/4 cup Roasted Corn Kernels
1/4 cup Sliced Green Olives
1 tbsp Fine Diced Red Onion
2 tbsp Rough Chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup Diced Avocado
1/8 cup Lime Juice (plus 1 tsp lime zest)
1/8 cup Orange Juice (plus 1 tsp orange zest)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Jalapeno Fine Diced (only half seeded)
tortilla chips

Directions:

  • Poach shrimp in boiling water for 60 seconds and cool in an ice bath. The shrimp should have cooked almost all the way through.
  • Toss the shrimp with the remaining ingredients and let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes tossing every 10 minutes or so.
  • Serve in an ice cold glass bowl with your favorite tortilla or yucca chips

Kelly
Authored By Kelly Russo

Kelly is a slightly dog-obsessed Jedi and Director of Online Media for HMNS. Her favorite activities include photography, stargazing at the George Observatory and finding new ways to bring the wonders of HMNS to the world.

One response to “The Science of Ceviche – A Summer Seafood Favorite”

  1. Christine Pantel says:

    Thank you! I haven’t thought of ceviche for far too long…thanks for the memory jog and off to the market I go, ho ho!

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