What’s the Deal with…ceviche?September 7, 2015
As the weather starts to get warmer, we start to change all sort of things about our lives. We start to think about changing our hair (blonde? haircut so the ears can breathe?), our exercise regime (ocean swim, anyone?) and especially our food.
Isn’t it strange that almost everyone starts to crave different fare as the weather warms up? Just as nature starts to offer us new in season produce, we start to think about fresh salads and crisp veggies. There’s also joy to be found in preparing meals outside, or eschewing hours bent over an oven for sitting in the backyard and adding a few finishing touches to some beautiful fresh bounty.
One of our absolute favourites at this time of year is ceviche. Pronounced ser-VEE-chay, you may have come across this clever little Peruvian dish before. You may have not have given it a try though. Raw fish? Really?
Yes, Really! This is the best ceviche recipe ever.
it’s true that the fish in ceviche is not ‘cooked’. Or is it? The truth is a little more scientific and complicated (although preparation of this dish isn’t!) than that. The non-negotiable components of a ceviche are fish or scallops – the freshest you can find, and citrus. Why citrus? The acid found in fruits like lemons and limes can actually work to render the fish changed in such a way that is safe to eat, and actually turns white and firm as it’s been, well…cooked!
The citric acid in lime juice changes the proteins in fish by a process called denaturation. The protein molecules in fish or meat are normally twisted and folded. Denaturing unravels or unfolds the protein strands into less convoluted shapes. The shapes of molecules, especially proteins, are responsible for most of their physical and chemical properties. In other words, they have lost their original natures: they have been denatured.
Ceviche is popular in lots of South American countries, although this simple classic version without tomatoes or other ingredients is most reminiscent of the Peruvian variety. You can make ceviche with whatever your favourite fish is – just remember to get the freshest piece you can find.
Check out this breezy version of ceviche with barramundi and avocado!
Barramundi ceviche with lime and avocado
- 1 large, very fresh barramundi fillet, de-boned and skin removed
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
- plenty of coarsely ground sea salt and cracked black pepper
- olive oil
- Place your barramundi fillet in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up the flesh before you cut it up.
- When your fish is nice and firm, take a sharp knife and cut it into chunks, around 2-3cm long on each side. In a non-metallic bowl, add the lime juice, the finely sliced onion and a good pinch of salt and crack of pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- While the barramundi is denaturing, prepare your avocado by cutting it into pieces roughly the same size as the fish pieces.
- Remove the fish and stir through avocado, chopped coriander, and a good dash of olive oil. Taste, and season some more if you think it’s required!
- You can tuck into this as a beautiful salad, or serve it on corn chips like we did at the HelloFresh farm 😉