One of my favorite appetizers at Spanish restaurants is ceviche. I love the combination of zesty citrus flavors and fresh seafood, along with the usual spicy kick from a hot pepper that's cooled down with cilantro. There are many variations of ceviche and the add-ons are what make the dish the most interesting to me – I've had ceviche made with watermelon, corn and tomatoes and numerous other combinations that I don't even remember!
I know some people are turned off by raw fish, but the great thing about ceviche is that the fish is basically cooked by the time you’re eating it. It’s actually pretty cool to see how the citrus marinade "cooks" the raw fish by breaking down its protein fibers and firming the flesh. Make it yourself and you'll really be amazed!
Before you start thinking ceviche is too gourmet for a home cook, let me set the record straight. Ceviche is probably one of the easiest, quickest dishes you will ever prepare and serve. The most involved part of the whole dish is chopping the ingredients, juicing the citrus (or you can skip this part and buy bottled lemon or lime juice) and cutting the fish. Other than that, you mix it all together and let it marinate in the refrigerator. Toss it a few times to make sure all the fish is coated and "cooked" evenly and you're done.
Serve ceviche with chips at a gathering, as an appetizer for a sit-down meal, or over a bed of arugula for lunch or dinner. It's especially refreshing on a hot day, which is how I served this salmon ceviche mixed with crunchy radishes and cucumbers earlier this summer.
Fresh Salmon Ceviche with Cucumbers and Radishes
- 1 pound salmon, skin removed, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup diced and seeded English cucumber
- 1 cup diced radish
- 1 cup chopped scallions
- 1 Serrano chili, seeded and minced (add seeds based on desired level of spiciness)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- In a large glass bowl, combine salmon, cucumber, radish, scallions and chili pepper.
- In a measuring cup or small mixing bowl, whisk together lime juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, ginger and salt. Pour over fish mixture and toss well, making sure all the fish is covered with the juices.
- Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- Mix in chopped cilantro right before serving. Serve chilled.
- For best quality, marinate no longer than two hours before serving. Leftovers can be saved for a day or two after it's made, but the fish will break down the longer it sits.
- Wear gloves when seeding and mincing hot peppers and avoid contact with skin.
* This recipe originally appeared on Jessica Fishman Levinson's Nutritioulicious blog in July 2015.