Ceviche: Why It’s Cooked & How to Make it at Home

August 17, 2017

Ceviche: Why It’s Cooked & How to Make it at Home

If you’ve been to a kitchen in Toronto with a chef that has a love for seafood, you’ve likely seen ceviche on the menu. Ceviche has been around for thousands of years and can be found in home kitchens from Argentina all the way up to Mexico, but it’s origins can be traced back to the Inca people of Peru.

A simple definition by the New York Times describes ceviche preparation as a marinating process that starts “with the sprinkling of salt and a generous squeeze of some kind of citrus, usually sweet limes or a combination of other citrus fruit.”

Most people understand that Ceviche is cooked by the citrus juices it’s marinated in, but they don’t know how.

It’s about to get science’ish.

Ceviche isn’t cooked in the conventional sense that heat is used to alter the physical compnents of food. The citric acid in the juices change the chemical properties of the fish in a process called denaturation. According to Chowhound, “In this process, the heat or citric acid changes the proteins in the fish, unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical and physical properties. When fish is bathed in citrus juices, this process of denaturation turns the flesh firm and opaque, as if it had been cooked with heat.”

Depending on how you (or the chef) likes it, ceviches can be marinated for as little as 10 minutes or a few hours. The variance in time is similar to cooking a steak; some like it rare, medium rare or well done.

If you’re hesitant to make ceviche, there’s plenty of places you could try it first to see if it’s for you. If you’re in Downtown Toronto you can visit us at Baro and try one of our 5 ceviches on the menu. If you’re looking for a quick bite on the go you can check out Seven Lives in Kensington Market.

If you want to make ceviche at home for friends and family at your next gathering, click below to get a simple recipe you can prepare for your guests!

Here’s some tips to follow to make sure your ceviche turns out tasty:

  • Use the freshest fish you can find. DO NOT use frozen fish from the fridges at supermarkets. Go to a local vendor who knows where the fish is from and when it was fished. St. Lawrence Market is a great place to start if you don’t “know a guy.”
  • Buy the fish the day you plan on making your ceviche. When you come home, make sure to put it on ice and keep it cold, but don’t freeze it!
  • Make sure the bloodline in your fish is removed. This is that red dark portion on the fillet that can create an overwhelming fishy smell that’s unwanted in your ceviche.
  • Make sure the skin and bones are removed. If you go to a fish market you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you.
  • Don’t mix the marinating fish with your vegetables too early. If you’re adding chilies, red onions or any other vegetables, you don’t want them to get mushy and bleed into the marinating process. Add these toppings just before serving the dish to guests.

Don’t know what fish to use? Come in to Baro, try one of our ceviches and ask our Chef what he’d recommend for you in your home kitchen.

Click here to book your next visit with us!