Ceviche -- the refreshing dish of fish marinated in citrus juice -- is perfect for summer. It's light and bright, it won't weigh you down in the heat. Plus, it requires no heat to cook, so you don't have to worry about turning on your oven or stove.
Ceviche is also surprisingly easy to prepare. When making it at home, there are just a few key things to keep in mind. The most important is to use the freshest fish possible and beyond that it's all about the marinating process, which works sort of like pickling.
If you're first attempt at making ceviche doesn't come out quite like you expected it to, fear not. There may be a few mistakes you're making -- such as not letting the fish marinate long enough or using the wrong fish entirely -- and they're easily corrected. Here are 10 mistakes you might be making with ceviche, and how to avoid them.
Not Using The Right Fish
Most fish works for ceviche, but the best kinds are semi-firm white-fleshed ocean fish like sea bass, striped bass, grouper, sole or flounder. Stay away from oily fish like mackerel, sardines, tuna, bluefish or jack. Freshwater fish like trout or catfish don't really work either.
Not Using The Freshest Fish
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Though it's not always possible, fresh caught fish makes the best ceviche. Otherwise, buy the freshest fish possible at the market. It's the single most important thing. Fresh fish smells like the ocean. It shouldn't be stinky. The flesh should appear glossy and iridescent, not opaque.
When you get your fish home from the store, it's best to put it over ice and store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Not only does this keep the fish fresh, it wll also make for a better tasting ceviche when you serve it. Aim to make the ceviche the same day you buy the fish. If you're working with an especially large fillet, keep half of it over ice while you work on the other half.
When preparing fish for ceviche, before you even start to cut it up, you need to remove the bloodline. If left on the fish, the bloodline (the dark red portion on the fillet) will give the finished dish a really fishy flavor.
When making ceviche, it's important that the different components are evenly sized so they marinate evenly. This also helps with presentation and ease of eating. The fish should preferably be chopped into large, even chunks or sliced into thin pieces. The vegetables, such as peppers or onions, are best diced. But you can, for presentation sake, slice the onions very thinly.
It's best to keep the fish separate from the vegetables until you're ready to serve. This prevents the vegetables or the fish from turning mushy and keeps the different colors (especially if you're using red onions) from bleeding together.
Now that you're armed with everything you need to know to make a flawless ceviche dish this summer, here are 12 recipes to try out!