Raw food, fresh deal

Originally appeared in the July 22, 2010 edition of the Southside Times

To fully savor the profiles of fresh ingredients, it’s often important to employ labor-intensive techniques to highlight textures and flavors.  But now and again, allowing ingredients to stand alone in their raw state is preferable.

For this installment, I’m not “cooking” in the conventional sense—cooking as in the application of heat to transform an item’s molecular structure and appearance.  This time the cooking’s done by way of a chemical reaction.  Read more after the jump:

Seviche (pronounced suh-vee-chey, and sometimes spelled ceviche or cebiche) is raw fish or seafood that is “cooked” when marinated in citric acid, traditionally lime or lemon juice, but can also be bitter orange juice.

One suggestion is that the term seviche is derived from the Spanish word for onion, cebollo, as chopped onion was a featured ingredient in the preparation of raw fish-and-lime juice dishes.  Others claim it’s rooted in the word escabeche:  pickle or marinate.

A wide variety of fish, shellfish, and other seafood can be used—shrimp, scallops, tuna, squid, and lobster.  But regardless of what items you choose to use, it’s critical that all the ingredients are fresh.

Seviche aromas are vibrant, the flavors are tropical—simply put:  it tastes like vacation.


Serves 6

  • 1 cup fresh lime juice (and I emphasize fresh)
  • 2-3 fillets raw tilapia (or any other firm white fish), medium dice
  • ¼ of a white onion, small dice
  • 1 tomato, small dice
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, small dice
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper, seeded, small dice
  • 1-1 ½ cup fresh cilantro, small chop
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, as needed
  • Optional for serving:  corn tostada, sliced avocado, guacamole, tortilla or plantain chips.

1.  Juice limes in a nonreactive bowl (stainless steel, plastic).  Once you’ve accumulated about 1 cup, add in raw fish.  Stir so that fish has been coated with juice.  Cover, and refrigerate for a half hour.

2.  In a separate bowl, combine onion, tomato, cucumber, Serrano pepper, and fresh cilantro.  Adjust seasonings as needed with salt and pepper.

3.  Remove marinated fish from the refrigerator.  Drain well (the fish will have already absorbed it share of citrus, so make sure you discard excess juice or the seviche will be bitter).

4.  Combine fish and vegetable mixture together in a nonreactive bowl.

5.  To serve, spread a small amount of guacamole on a corn tostada (this adds flavor and helps the seviche stick to the tostada).  Place a few heaping spoonfuls of the seviche on the tostada.  Garnish with slices of fresh avocado or fried plantain chips (as pictured).  Serve as an appetizer or entrée.

Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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