Classic Northern Peruvian Ceviche


1 pound fish fillet, sustainably harvested
salt and pepper to taste
3 or 4 eureka lemons (you can use some limes but not exclusively)
1 clove garlic
1 small to medium red onion
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 stick celery (optional)
corn on the cob, chopped into threes
yucca (can be found frozen in Asian markets)
lettuce leaves


Slice fish fillet into long strips. Then chop again into bite size 'squares'. Try to keep the sizes even as possible for even cooking. Place in a large glass bowl and add salt and pepper.
Juice lemons and add to fish. Make sure all the fish pieces are under the juice as much as possible. As you add additional ingredients, mix and then accommodate the ingredients so that the fish is always under the juice as much as possible.
Chop garlic and add to bowl.
The onion is sliced in long thin strips. Don't cut the onion in half. Rather slice one end off so that it is stable on the table then at an angle, slice the onion from top to bottom to create long thin strips. Add to bowl.
Chop cilantro and finely slice celery and add to bowl.
Roast the ají amarillo or jalapeño chile over an open fire (on a gas stove) or in a pan. Wait for it to cool and then peel the skin off. Slice around the seeds, taking only the meat of the chile. Add some of the seeds if you like the ceviche to be more spicy, but I would advise just using the meat of the chile at first. Chop the strips of chile into small squares. Add to bowl and cover with a cloth. Let sit for 1.5 hours. After the first 45 min, check the salt level and add more salt if you like.
To prepare sides, boil the corn pieces, the potatoes, sweet potatoes or the yucca in water with some salt, in separate pots.
Serve ceviche on a lettuce leaf, with starches on the side. Try to have at least two options of starch. I think corn and sweet potato, make a good combination. Or corn and yucca.




Typically, ceviche is served as on its own as an appetizer. However, it is often presented as a light entree with many starchy sides: corn on the cob, white rice, sweet potato, potato or yucca. This is a great summer dish, best eaten outside, for example, during the weekend. Enjoy with cancha (fried corn seeds) and cold light beer.

For those not in the know, ceviche is a fish dish that is prepared by marinating it in lemon/lime juice for about 1.5 hours. The fish is chemically 'cooked' by the acid in the lemon, but never touches any heat. It is served at room temperature and is a very healthy meal. This dish does not keep, so it is best if it is all eaten fresh. Do not save for the next day.

The biggest decision in making ceviche is the type of fish to use. The choices are not always sustainable. Rock cod and corvina are tasty choices but are heavily over-fished. Tilapia is a good alternative, satisfying the taste and the pocketbook standard as well as the maintaining sustainability. In Peru, they like to use grouper (mero) which is difficult to find in the States, and is also on the red list for being unsustainably harvested.


6 servings


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 3:20pm


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