Oh, for a frosty flute of cava, a dish of fresh ceviche, and a beach somewhere…take me there now…
Not too many dishes whisk you away from your humdrum meat-and-potatoes-life like a chilled serving of ceviche. Composed of raw marinated seafood, ceviche is believed to have originated in Peru. And if you have ever been to Peru, you understand that the Peruvians treasure and celebrate seafood with absolute passion. Peruvian ceviche is sublime.
However, Peru may not own all the credit for the existence of ceviche. When I am tracking down the source of any recipe, I usually look at its name. Unfortunately, the origin of the name ceviche is a little unclear. Some scholars insist that ceviche relates to the Arabic word sikbaj, which means meat marinated in vinegar, and others argue that the roots of the word are Quechua, the language of the Inca tribe of Peru.
Most ceviche recipes feature onions, which were not a native vegetable in the Americas. Onions are native to Central Asia. Citrus fruits, such as lime or sour orange, also originated in Southeast Asia, so the traditional onion flavor and acidic marinades of Peruvian ceviche were later additions to the recipe.
I believe that the Incans of Peru traditionally ate raw fish that had been cured with salt and aji chiles. Once the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 1500’s, and brought their ingredients such as citrus and onions from the Old World, the recipe changed. Almost all ceviche that I have ever enjoyed contain both crispy fresh onions and tangy citrus juice. Ceviche evolved from simply a raw fish to a combination of Old and New World ingredients.
This is a great dish for novice chefs. Easy, impressive, and loads of history to chat about, while you pour yourself another glass of Cava.
Red and Green Ceviche
1 lb. uncooked fish, such as tilapia or red snapper (500gr)
8 oz. uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined (250gr)
1 cup fresh lime juice or sour orange juice (240ml)
½ cup shaved red onion
3 green onions, minced
1 ripe medium avocado, cut into ½” cubes (1.25cm)
Your favorite flavored salt, such as smoked sea salt
Fresh lime wedges for garnish
Cut the fish into 1” cubes (2.5cm), and place in a large glass bowl, along with the uncooked shrimp. Pour over the fresh lime or sour orange juice. Add the red and green onion, and toss to combine well. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and allow to cure for 20-30 minutes. Fish and shrimp will turn opaque in color.
Using a slotted spoon, serve the ceviche in individual portion dishes. Top with avocado, and dust generously with your favorite flavored salt. Serve with fresh lime wedges.