What is Ceviche?

You've probably seen ceviche on menus before, but may not be sure exactly what it is. While ceviche is a typical South American food, the raw fish dish has become pretty prevalent and trendy throughout the United States. Raw fish may conjure up images of Japanese sushi, but ceviche is different. Ceviche actually has some very unique culinary science behind it, and if you have a bunch of lemons or limes lying around, you can make the perfect marinade for ceviche in just minutes.

The fish in ceviche is not cooked, at least not in a traditional sense. The raw fish is marinated in a lime or lemon juice. The acid in the citrus juice interacts with the protein in the fish, causing coagulation. This reaction makes the fish appear firmer and more opaque. Even though it appears cooked, the fish has a more delicate texture than if it had been heated in a pan. Fifteen minutes of marinating is all the fish needs to get a delicious, citrus-y flavor. Ceviche is served cold.

Ceviche can be made with lean white fish like tilapia, but it also works well with salmon, yellowtail, snapper, halibut, mahi-mahi, sea bass, shrimp and even scallops. If you're a vegetarian, you can still enjoy ceviche-like dishes with a variety of veggies. The fun part about ceviche is that you can serve it as a raw appetizer or even as the filling for a unique fish taco.

Now that you're familiar with how to make ceviche, try these recipes:
Avocado and Shrimp Ceviche Tacos
Scallop Mango Ceviche
Yellowtail Ceviche

Image Credit: Getty Images

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