By Chef Jeff Igel
Introducing Culinary Bits, a new column featuring tips from our own FVTC Chef Instructors. For April, Chef Jeff Igel offers preparation tips for the popular Latin American delicacy ceviche.
Ceviche—also spelled seviche, cebiche and escabeche and pronounced suh-vee-chey, ‐chee—is a dish prepared by “cooking” seafood in an acid marinade.
To the best of my knowledge, it is made only from fish and shellfish. Ceviche is prepared with citrus fruits like lemons and limes with maybe a little vinegar, salt and other seasonings like onions and cilantro. On the same lines as pickled herring or gravlax, ceviche is never cooked with heat, which makes it a cured seafood dish. Through the curing process, the citric acid firms up the protein which makes it seem like it has been cooked. Of critical importance is that the seafood is fresh since there is no heat treatment to kill any bacteria that might be present.
Ceviche is considered a delicacy and is typically served as an appetizer dish similar to how a shrimp cocktail might be served, in a glass or bowl or on a small bed of greens. Almost any fresh fish could be used to make ceviche, although thin fillets would probably not hold up very well. Shrimp and scallops seem to be the most popular seafood to prepare ceviche, keeping in mind that the larger the pieces, the longer it will take to cure them.
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