In the summer, you want to eat foods that are fresh and chilled, with little or no cooking. Seviche (or ceviche) fits that bill. Seviche uses fresh fish and marinates it in citrus and other flavors.
For those who have never had it, don’t be apprehensive—the fish is not raw, but cooked in the acid of citrus. We love to serve it as an appetizer or a light lunch when we’re alone Shabbos afternoon. Give it a try—step away from the stove and let the acid do the cooking for you.
It’s all about the fish: It is important that the fish be fresh and high-quality. Make sure you are getting your fish from a reliable source that supplies the freshest fish. The fillets should have translucent flesh and smell clean, not “fishy.” If possible, buy your fish the day you are planning to prepare the seviche. Keep it refrigerated until right before you use it. Any kind of fish can be used, from salmon and tuna to mahi-mahi or red snapper. Use a sturdy fish for best results.
The marinade. You can completely cook your fish in the citrus bath or only cook the outside, leaving the inside raw like with sushi or seared tuna. The outside will become opaque, indicating it is cooked. The longer you keep the fish in the citrus, the more cooked it will get. If the fish is very fresh and pure, you can do so little as to squeeze some lime juice on it for a couple of minutes before adding a dressing and garnishes. If the fish is richer, you can marinate it in citrus for an hour to overnight. The citrus is traditionally lime juice, but any citrus, such as lemon, grapefruit, orange, or a combination, can be used.
Dressings and garnishes. After the fish has cooked in the citrus bath, you can drain it and add a dressing and garnishes, or just add garnishes into marinade. There are no rules, but always use the freshest ingredients and lots of vegetables, and serve with a crunchy chip for texture. Dress with mirin and soy sauce for a Japanese twist. Add jalapeño or other hot peppers to the mix to give it a little kick. Peaches or mango can be an interesting contrast to the citrus flavor. Cucumbers, jicama, or red onion can give it crunch and texture. Find your favorite combination of flavors.
Variations. There are so many variations to play around with for different flavors. Each Latin American country has its own twist on the seviche recipe. In Peru, it is served with sliced sweet potato or corn on the cob. In Ecuador, they serve seviche with popcorn, potato chips, nuts, or giant corn kernels. In Panama, saltine crackers or little pastry shells. In Mexico, seviche is served on toasted tortillas with slices of raw onions. Use these as inspiration and create your own recipe. ϖ
Seviche With Avocado
1 lb. fresh halibut or other firm-fleshed fish
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
¾ cup green olives, sliced
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Tortilla chips for serving
Cut fish into ½-inch cubes and place in medium bowl. Add salt and lime juice, and toss to coat. Marinate until edges begin to turn opaque, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Dice avocados and add to fish with olives, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. Add olive oil and season to taste with salt. Serve with tortilla chips. ϖ
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