To find the best ceviche recipe we tried several variations. We will be preparing it using recipes from two different countries and comparing them while learning about the cultures at the same time.
What is Ceviche?
Ceviche is a traditional way of curing fish chemically with fresh citrus juices instead of using heat. Serve it cold as an appetizer or a meal. Each Latin American Country has their own variations, and each thinks that their is the best ceviche recipe. In Columbia they usually use shrimp or whatever they catch that day such as lobster, oysters, octopus, or even periwinkles. In addition to lime juice and cilantro, they add ketchup or mayonnaise and Tabasco. Then they serve the ceviche on crackers. Ecuadorean ceviche is close to Peruvian ceviche. However, the Ecuadorians serve the ceviche in its juices giving it more of a soupy quality. They traditionally serve it with sides of plantain chips and corn nuts.
I recently tried some additional ceviche variations using salmon. I have included a Californian recipe as well. See if this one is the best ceviche recipe.
Ceviche originated in Peru, South America’s third largest country. Slightly smaller than Alaska, nature divides Peru into 3 diverse regions: the coast, the Andean Highlands, and the Amazon rainforest. In the lower region of the coast Peruvians grow lemons, limes, avocados, and chilies. Although lunch is the main meal of the day, dinner is the most filling. Families usually have between 2-3 dishes with dinner. Potatoes usually make up one dish at each meal. Boiled dried corn and meat or ceviche usually make up another dish.
- 2 lbs. white fish fillet cut into half inch pieces (we used Halibut)
- 1/4-1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 thinly sliced onions
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 to 2 jalapenos chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients except fish.
- Then place fish in a glass baking pan in a single layer. After that pour lime juice mixture over fish making sure to completely cover the fish.
- Cover with plastic wrap for several hours or overnight turning once or twice. Most importantly, fish should turn white before eating.
- Finally, to serve drain excess lime juice and serve on a bed of lettuce.
Traditionally this dish is accompanied by sweet potatoes or corn on the cob.
I have included these affiliate links for serving ideas to make you feel like you have traveled to another country.
While the Peruvians claim to have created ceviche, the Mexicans also lay claim to its origins, but it may have originated in Polynesia. Who knows? It is certainly possible that several locations created the dish independent of each other based on the abundance of local seafood and warm climates for citrus growth.
- 2 lbs. mackerel fillets cut into half inch pieces. (Again we used Halibut)
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
- 12 oz. fresh diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 finely chopped onions
- 4 jalapeno peppers chopped
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper
- stuffed olives and avocado
- Place fish in a glass baking dish and completely cover with lime juice. Cover and soak for at least 6 hours until fish is opaque.
- When fish turns opaque remove from juices and set aside.
- Then mix tomatoes, onion, peppers, oregano, cilantro, and salt and pepper together in a bowl. After that add reserved lime juice.
- Mix well and pour over fish. Further, cover and let soak in the refrigerator for an additional hour.
- Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes prior to serving.
- Serve with olives and sliced avocado.
California Ceviche Recipe
California has access to fresh Alaskan salmon, hence this American version of ceviche. They also grow fresh produce such as avocado, tomatoes, and citrus fruits, lending to this natural adaptation.
When using salmon it is important to make sure you get it from a reputable company that freezes it within 8 hours of being caught. According to the FDA, the fish must be frozen at a temperature of -4F for 7 days, or -31F until solid and then at -4F for 24 hours to prevent parasites. However, if you buy farm raised salmon this should not be an issue. We are lucky enough to know the people who catch and prepare our salmon, so we trust the freezing methods they use.
Ingredients for America’s best ceviche recipe
- 1 lb. salmon, skinned and de-boned
- juice from 2 limes and one orange
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 tbsp. chopped jalapeno
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Frank’s hot sauce to serve
Directions for America’s best ceviche recipe
- Cut salmon into small cubes. I actually used my fingers to break it into pieces to make sure I didn’t miss any bones.
- Then mix the salmon with the citrus juices, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours. The salmon will absorb a lot of the citrus, but you can drain off any extra before adding the additional ingredients.
- After that, mix in the onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and salt.
- Serve on crackers with Frank’s hot sauce. We use Triscuits because they are made with whole grains and stay firm.
Tequila to Accompany the Best Ceviche Recipe
Of course you need some tequila to accompany your ceviche. The Aztecs originally made Tequila from the blue agave plant which grows wild in Mexico. Therefore it is Mexico’s national drink.
There are several different types of Tequila. For example, Blanco or Plata tequila is not aged and have a more harsh and pure agave flavor. They are often used in mixed drinks such as margaritas. Gold tequilas are basically Blanco tequilas with caramel coloring and are used in the same way.
While light tequilas are mainly used in cocktails, aged tequila is often sipped or drank as a shot. For instance, Reposado is aged in oak barrels from 2 months to a year and exude traces of honey and vanilla. People often sip these or add them to margaritas. Similarly, Anejo means aged. These tequilas are aged in wood barrels between 1 and 5 years. On the other hand, Mescal can be made from a mixture of agave plants not just the blue agave so it is not a true tequila. It often has a smokier flavor. Mescal is usually known for containing a worm which is actually the larva of an insect which lives in the agave plant. Of course Mescal supposedly brings good luck to those that swallow it. Visit Oaxaca for a true Mezcal Experience.
Simple Margarita to Serve with the Best Ceviche Recipe
We added a bit of strained watermelon puree and a basil leave to the margaritas in the photo above.
- lime wedges
- 1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
- blue agave sweetener
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- Rub edge of glass with lime and salt the rim.
- Shake liquid ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Agave sweetener is optional. Add to taste. If you prefer a more tart margarita you may add more lime juice.
- Strain into a margarita glass filled with ice.
- Finally squeeze a lime wedge into the drink and drop it in.
If you want to make sour mix ahead of time instead of using the lime juice and Agave Sweetener follow this video and keep the mix in a jar in your refrigerator for future drinks.
Here are some affiliate links to aide you in your tequila experience:
So whichever way you decide to make the ceviche, enjoy with some tequila, and close friends. Please let me know which you think is the best ceviche recipe by commenting below.
For further reading check out this post on a unique Mexican travel experience by one of my favorite travel writers at Bucket List Journey.