Tilapia Ceviche

I first had ceviche at a very fancy Latin American restaurant, so I always associate this with high class, gourmet brunches, but it’s deceptively simple.

I actually had no idea ceviche is basically acidified raw fish, but you can definitely see it cook over time (nerds see below). I’m not sure how safe my fish is from the sketchy Fiesta Mart, but I haven’t acquired any Streptococcus iniae from my tilapia thus far! From Simply Recipes.

3 tilapia fillets
3 limes, squeezed
2 lemons, squeezed
1 small red onion, finely diced
3 chopped fresh seeded tomatoes
2-3 serrano chilis, seeded and finely diced
Salt, pepper to taste
Ground oregano
Dash of Tabasco

In a non-reactive casserole dish (Pyrex or ceramic, not metal) place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt and pepper, Tabasco, oregano, and paprika. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices.

Let sit for ~4 hours, giving time for the flavors to blend. During the marinating process the fish will change from pinkish grey and translucent, to whiter in color and opaque. Serve with chopped cilantro and slices of avocado with heated tortillas for ceviche tacos or with tortilla chips.

For the nerds: Both heat and citric acid cause denaturation, changing the proteins in the fish (unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical / physical properties). This turns the flesh firm and opaque, as if it had been cooked with heat. Ah, science! 

It’s important to not use metal since it can apparently impart a metallic taste to your ceviche. How long you cook the fish varies: if using flakier fillet, like flounder, snapper, or sole, or tender shellfish like scallops may only need to marinate for about 15 minutes.  Mahi mahi, a hearty and dense fish, could take closer to 50 minutes or an hour to “cook.” It’s best to eat ceviche quickly as the acid will continue to cook the fish. (Info by Chow)

Citric acid won’t kill bacteria the way that heat does, so use fresh, disease-free, and parasite-free fish (yeah, because we all like non-fresh, diseased, and parasite infested fish lol).  Anyways, I have read that freezing your fish beforehand will kill parasites.

Or you can cook it slightly beforehand…but, of couse, I like to live dangerously in the kitchen.

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