One of Costa Rica’s favorite seafood dishes is Ceviche. This healthy seafood preparation is low in calories and unwanted fats but is a good source of healthy-fats, high in proteins and many are loaded with Omega-3 oils for health conscious. Ceviche is loved throughout Central America not so much for its health benefits but instead its great taste. Simple to prepare it uses all fresh ingredients.
Blessed with many miles of beautiful shoreline, on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica’s oceans are teeming with abundant marine life that ensures a source of one of the necessary ingredients for great Cerviche, fresh fish. The other necessary ingredient in abundance in Costa Rica are the many varieties of fresh citrus fruits and in particular, lime or lemons. These are the essential ingredients for preparing delicious Ceviche. You’ll find it available at Blue River Costa Rica Resort & Hot Springs’ Tiki Bar & Restaurant.
What is Ceviche?
Ceviche is a seafood based dish, mixed with seasoning and spices and marinated in citrus juice. It starts out with raw seafood which is marinated until the acids in the citrus juice ‘cook’ the fish without traditional flame.
When served the fish is firm and flavorful; it has the taste and appearance of a fully cooked meal. Everyone has a favorite fish. Use yours to make a bowl of Ceviche; the same recipe works with shellfish if you prefer. The only difference in the preparation of fish or shellfish Ceviche is the preparation of the flesh; details are contained below.
Ceviche is Similar to Sushi
Ceviche is very similar to genuine Asian Sushi. Real Sushi is a mixture of short-grained rice fermented in vinegar and used to marinate fish or vegetables. The vinegar and rice combination interacts with the fish in the Asian recipe in the same manner as the citrus juice in the Ceviche.
The origin of Ceviche is unknown and several countries claim the bragging right; each has a different account. Surely it came from a coastal fishing community in either, Central America, Spain or the Philippines. Two ingredients were necessary, fresh fish and citrus juice- lime or lemons. Wherever it was, they must have had limes or lemons growing there. Lemons entered Europe by the 2nd Century A.D. via Italy, from India and the cultivation only began in Genoa, Europe, during the 15th Century.
Fresh seafood is the key to Ceviche, it is more important for it to be fresh rather than any special specie. Frequently used fillets are Mahi-mahi, Tuna, Cod, Snapper, Sea Bass, Swordfish, Mackerel, or Wahoo. Peeled and deveined shrimp, lobsters or crabs are also excellent substitutes. The entire process takes 3-4 hours to prepare; most of the time is spent marinating in the refrigerator. During festive season (like Christmas) when space on the kitchen burners is at a premium, Ceviche is a great fish compliment since it uses no stove top space.
Let your choice of fish to prepare this recipe be guided by whatever is freshest at the seafood store. Taste is secondary in the selection process. Using a fillet that is not fresh will not make you ill but it will be softer and harder to manage. It may become too soft during marination. Keep the fresh fillets cold in the freezer to maintain freshness until you are ready to fix this dish.
- Although you are working with fish fillets, check carefully to ensure no bones make their way into your preparation.
- Skin the fillet and remove any dark streaks of flesh from it. The dark meat (a reddish-brown color) is called the blood-line. The blood-line carried blood to the muscles and tail of the fish. There is nothing wrong with this darker meat but it tastes very gamey, a strong flavor of rawness, and can overpower the other delicate flavors of the fish. The bloodline can be reserved and used in fish broth preparations.
- When preparing Shrimp Ceviche, remove the head, shell and legs from each one and discard. (See details below under Shrimp Ceviche)
- Prevent cross contamination in food preparation; do not use tools/ utensils here that have been used in preparing other dishes.
- Do not use any metal bowls or pan in the preparation of Ceviche. Use nonreactive bowls- plastic, ceramic, earthenware, or Pyrex instead.
- When cubing the fillets use a sharp knife and make sure the filets are very cold before cubing.
- Prepare the ingredients, except the fish, in one bowl and the fish in another. Combine and then refrigerate the mixture, keeping it covered. Every 30 minutes, gently turn the fish in the citrus juice. Do this for 3-4 hours, after which the Ceviche is ready. Drain all juices and save the rest in the refrigerator until ready for serving. Do not stir or mix vigorously at any time.
2 Cups Lime or Lemon Juice (Preferably Fresh)
2 medium Onions (Chopped)
3 cloves Garlic (Minced)
2 medium sized Tomatoes (Diced)
1 Hot Pepper (Scotch Bonnets are best- Add to taste) or ½ Tspn. Hot Sauce (Tabasco)
Bell Peppers (Cubed if you want to remove them before serving)
Pimento Grains (Crushed)
¼ cup Cilantro (Shredded: Coriander or Chinese Parsley)
1 lb. Fish Fillets or Shellfish (Cubed into ¾” by ¾” pieces)
1 Table spoon Vinegar (Wine, Balsamic, or Distilled)
1 Tspn. Salt (Sea Salt is a good option)
½ Tspn. Finely Ground White Pepper
Avocado and cucumber cubes for garnishing.
Grate cheese to top individual portions if desired.
- Clean and pat dry fish fillets (skin & bones removed).
- Place fillets in freezer for 15 minutes to make them firm for cubing.
- Remove from freezer and cut out blood-lines (discard).
- Cube fillets into ¾” squares.
- Place fish cubes in a clean bowl.
- Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl. Add pepper cautiously; you can always increase its quantity if desired.
- Gently combine the contents of the two bowls.
- Set in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
- Turn the mixture every 15 minutes to make sure all fish pieces are exposed to the juices and cooked.
- When the flesh of the fish is firm and white, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and drain the liquid. Discard the liquid.
- Place in a serving dish and top with the cucumber and avocado cubes, gently to avoid making a paste.
- Keep chilled and serve cold.
Heat the Ceviche in a microwave oven for a few seconds prior to serving if it is to be served hot as a main dish.
Ceviche is simple to prepare and kept refrigerated until needed. Serve on your favorite cracker, toasted bread, pita bread, Twice Fried Patacones, tortillas, or burritos. A few drops of A1 Steak Sauce, or other sauce, will add a fruity taste to Ceviche. It is enjoyed best whilst enjoying a few cold beers.
Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
The Shrimp Ceviche recipe is a slight variation to the Fish Ceviche recipe. Make it using shrimp, instead of fish, using the same recipes as the Fish Ceviche. The shrimp must be fresh, with the heads and shells removed.
Blanche the un-shelled shrimp in hot water for 10 seconds then dip in iced-cold water immediately afterwards for another 10 seconds. This makes the heads, shell and legs easier to remove. Devein the shrimp by removing the dark vein running along the centre of its back. Deveining is not an absolute necessity but it makes the shrimp taste fresher.
Cut shrimp into 1” long pieces and add to the basic Ceviche recipe.
Ceviche at the Tiki Bar & Restaurant and on Tour
At Blue River Resort & Hot Springs did you know that we grow tilapia in our ponds? Ceviche is enjoyed anytime of the year and especially at Christmas when most families entertain guests. Try the Blue River Resort & Hot Springs’s Ceviche for a taste of the real thing. It’s so refreshing some clients love Ceviche so much they take it as a snack on our longer tours and clients who come for the 1-day Eco adventure tour return with a doggy bag of Ceviche.
For information and reservations contact:
BlueRiverResort.com Contact Form
US (800) 840-5071 | CR (506) 7298-3200