Summer is the perfect time for ceviche. It’s a light, nutritious dish with lots of flavor. And, it’s beyond easy to make.
Ceviche is fish or shellfish that’s been marinated in a citrus-based mixture. Lemons and limes are the most commonly used fruits, but if you look you can find recipes that incorporate oranges or grapefruits. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid in the fruits causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which pickles or “cooks” the fish completely–without heat. How fun is that.
Start with a fresh piece of good quality fish–this isn’t the time to use something from the freezer since the extra moisture will interfere with the cooking process. For this recipe I used two Ahi tuna steaks.
- 2 Ahi Tuna Steaks
- 3 lemons
- 4 limes (set one aside for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons of Sesame Oil
- 2 tablespoons of Mirin (this is a sweet Japanese cooking wine vinegar made from Sake–you should be able to find it in your neighborhood grocery store)
- 2 tablespoons of Hot Oil
- 1/3 cup of peanuts
- Candied Ginger (also known as crystalized ginger–you should be able to find it in your grocery store, too. Look in the baking aisle.)
- 2 just-ripe peaches
- Basil leaves
- Mint leaves
- Salt and Pepper
- To prepare the marinade, start by placing your two tuna steaks into a baking dish.
- Add sesame oil, mirin, and hot oil to the dish–flip the tuna steaks so that the liquid can coat each side.
- Slice 3 lemons and 3 limes in half and squeeze them over the tuna (set one lime aside for garnish). You’ll see the steak turn color slightly when it’s hit by the acid in the lemon and lime juice–what you are seeing is the cooking process begin. Don’t throw the fruits away–the oils in the lemon and limes’ skin will add lots of flavor to the marinade.
- Roughly chop up the peanuts and sprinkle over the steaks.
- Flip the steaks over a couple of times so that each side is doused in the marinade. Then, transfer everything in the baking dish into a large gallon-sized ziplock bag. This should allow the steaks to be submerged in the marinade, so that the meat will undergo the citric acid cooking process.
- Let the tuna marinate until the surface of the meat changes colors completely–this means the cooking process is complete. The time required will vary on the size and thickness of the seafood you’re using. Traditional style ceviche is usually marinated for about 3 hours. But, the longer you leave the meat in the marinade the more it will break down, so you want to take it out before it completely mushifies. Yes, that is a technical term. For example, small scallops (or if you cut the tuna steak into chunks) will cook faster than one giant steak, since the small pieces have more surface area for the citric acid to penetrate.
- While you’re waiting for the tuna to cook, de-skin your peach and cut it into bite sized pieces. You want to use a just-ripe peach that will hold it’s shape after you cut it, not turn to mush. Take out your fresh herbs and do a rough chop for them as well as your candided ginger.
- When the cooking process is complete, take your steaks out of the ziplock and roughly cut into bite sized pices. Put the pieces into a mixing dish, add your cut up peaches, chopped herbs and candied ginger, and toss.
- To present the ceviche, I like to spoon it into little pudding dishes–makes a great side or appetizer.
- Slice the remaining lime into wedges. Garnish each dish by placing a lime wedge on the rim.