Ceviche, a renowned seafood dish, has its roots deeply embedded in the coastal regions of Latin America, with a particularly strong claim from Peru. The dish’s inception dates back several centuries, possibly influenced by the culinary practices of the Inca civilization, who seasoned their fish with chicha (a fermented beverage). The evolution of ceviche was further shaped by the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, who introduced citrus fruits like limes and lemons to the region. This addition was pivotal, as the acidic juice of these fruits became the key ingredient in “cooking” the raw fish without heat. Over time, ceviche has become a symbol of Latin American cuisine, with variations seen across different countries, including Ecuador, Mexico, and Colombia. Each region adds its unique twist, reflecting local tastes and ingredients, but the core principle of marinating fresh seafood in citrus juice remains a constant hallmark of this beloved dish.
Marinate the Fish: In a large bowl, combine the fish cubes with the lime and orange juice. Ensure the fish is completely submerged in the juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the fish is opaque and “cooked” through the acidity of the juice.
Prepare the Vegetables: In a separate bowl, mix together the red onion, tomatoes, green bell pepper, jalapeño (if using), and minced garlic.
Combine and Season: After the fish has marinated, combine it with the vegetable mixture. Add the olive oil, ketchup, salt, and pepper. Gently mix to combine all the ingredients.
Add Fresh Cilantro and Avocado: Just before serving, stir in the fresh cilantro and diced avocado.
Serve Chilled: Serve the ceviche chilled, accompanied by crackers or plantain chips. It’s perfect as an appetizer or a light meal.
Garnish: Optionally, you can garnish with extra cilantro or slices of lime for an added zesty flavor.
Fish Selection: Ensure that the fish you use is very fresh, as it will be “cooked” only by the acidity of the citrus juice.
Marination Time: The marination time can vary based on the type of fish and the size of the cubes. It’s important to marinate until the fish is opaque and has a firm texture.
Adjusting Flavors: Feel free to adjust the amount of ketchup, jalapeño, and lime to suit your taste preferences.
Serving Suggestion: For an authentic Colombian experience, serve alongside a cold beer or a glass of crisp white wine.
Enjoy your homemade Colombian-inspired ceviche, a dish that brings the fresh flavors of the sea right to your table!