For those of you that don’t know, ceviche is a dish made from shellfish or white, non-fatty fish and that uses no heat to cook the fish. Instead, the dish uses acid from fresh limes or lemons to cold cook the seafood. When done properly, the dish is a coolly refreshing combination of ocean and citrus.
I’ve always wanted to make my own ceviche, but I wasn’t sure I could make it at home reliably. I finally took a chance and I couldn’t be happier with the result of this recipe. Two of my biggest concerns were the freshness of any seafood I used and balancing out the flavor of all of the citric acid used to make the ceviche. The freshness of the seafood is paramount because this is where anyone can run into problems. That is why I tried to find the freshest seafood I could and that included fresh frozen seafood. The simple truth is that at almost any store that isn’t directly pulling fish out of the sea, all of the seafood is frozen. That means that the “fresh” seafood behind the glass is just thawed seafood. In those cases, sometimes it’s actually better to just but the seafood still frozen to ensure freshness. That is what I did for this recipe. In the absence of any “sushi grade” options, I went with fresh, frozen seafood.
As far as overwhelming the seafood with citrus, my concern arose when I first had ceviche at a local restaurant. Truthfully, I thought it was terrible. I knew that the problem lay with the citrus concoction used to marinate and cook the seafood. It was just so overpoweringly sour and salty that I couldn’t eat much of it. I kept this in mind when making this recipe and I thought the balance of sour citrus and seafood flavors were balanced extremely well.
I’ve made this dish always using shrimp because shrimp just works so perfectly. I’ve also added in scallops, which provide a softer texture to the ceviche as well as trying calamari, which added a firmer, more chewy texture to the dish. No matter which ceviche-appropriate seafood you choose, the results are wonderful.
WARNING: As always, the freshness of the seafood matters greatly. If you are not using fresh or freshly frozen seafood or you cannot verify the freshness of the seafood, then you should not use it (especially for this recipe).
Makes 4 – 6 servings of ceviche at 480 calories total or 120 – 80 calories per serving.
- 8 – 10 oz. of fresh or freshly frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 240 calories)
- 4 – 6 oz. of fresh or freshly frozen bay scallops (about 190 calories)
Note: You can also use 16 oz. of just shrimp, or swap the bay scallops for small calamari rings, or use a combination with any non-fatty white fish like cod, haddock, or tilapia. Depending on the seafood you choose, this versatile recipe gives you many different textures and flavors.
- 1 teaspoon loosely packed cilantro or parsley for the cilantro averse people (negligible calories)
- 1/2 cup of chopped grape tomatoes (about 15 calories)
- 1/4 of a medium sweet onion or equivalent amount of scallions, chopped (about 10 calories)
- 3/4 to 1 cup of fresh squeezed lime (recommended) or lemon juice (negligible calories)
- 1/2 of a fresh lime (about 10 calories)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or finely diced (about 10 calories)
- 1 small jalapeno pepper finely diced (about 5 calories)
- Optional: Avocado to serve with the ceviche
- Measuring cup
- Teaspoon measurement
- Cutting board
- Small to medium glass container that is not too wide with a lid
- Handheld citrus juicer
- The first step is to get your lime juice ready. Freshly squeeze 6 – 8 limes to get about 1 cups of lime juice. Cover and set aside.
- I used shrimp and scallops for this recipe, but remember that you can substitute all shrimp, calamari, or some other non-fatty white fish. If you haven’t done so already, peel and devein the shrimp. Then chop each shrimp into halfs/thirds so that all pieces are about the same size.
- If you have bay scallops and they are small, leave them as they are. If you have larger scallops than the shrimp, then cut them so that they are about the same size as the now cut shrimp.
- Combine the shrimp and scallops into the glass container.
- Peel and crush two fresh garlic gloves and add to the seafood.
- Pour in your lime juice, mix the seafood, and make sure that the lime juice fully covers the seafood. Then cover the dish and place in the fridge for at least 4 – 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
- After 4-6 hours have passed, the seafood should be cooked due to the acid from the lime juice. Check the seafood to make sure that all of the pieces are no longer semi-translucent and are essentially white.
- When the ceviche is ready, get the vegetables ready to add to the seafood. First, chop up the grape tomatoes into pieces that are roughly the same size as the seafood or a little smaller.
- Chop up your onions or scallions.
- De-seed a jalapeno (so that it looks like the one on top) and finely dice just the outer green part.
- Dice up about a teaspoon of loosely packed fresh cilantro or parsley.
- Drain the lime juice from the ceviche using a strainer or colander. Some people will tell you to save this juice, but I think it’s better to replace this lime juice that has been sitting with some fresh lime juice later.
- Return the ceviche to the glass dish or another large bowl and combine all of the vegetables with the seafood.
- Add a pinch each of salt and pepper, squeeze half of a fresh lime over the seafood, and mix thoroughly. It is now ready to serve.
- Try it with avocado slices, or rice, or even as a topper for grilled fish. In the picture below, I did all three and topped some grilled mahi mahi with the ceviche while slicing an avocado over my white rice. You can even just eat the ceviche as it is with tortilla chips!