Pronounced “say-VEECH-ay,” this South American dish refers to raw fish marinated in a mixture of acid juices (lime, lemon, sour orange, or vinegar) and salt. The acid in the marinade causes the fish to become firm and opaque. It can also include onion, garlic, peppers (both sweet and hot), ginger, cilantro, parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, or avocado.

White fish and scallops are most commonly used, but calimari, salmon, and shrimp can also be prepared this way. However, in the U.S., most cooks make shrimp ceviche with cooked shrimp, boiling it until just opaque and then marinating it with the juice and other flavorings.

For an elegant first course, serve ceviche in individual martini glasses garnished with a lime twist. Or put it in a bowl in the center of the table and provide tortillas for scooping it up.

Basic Ceviche

1 lb white fish, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 C freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 t salt
3 T cilantro, chopped

Place the fish in a shallow bowl and mix with remaining ingredients except cilantro. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, then chill for at least 2 more hours, stirring occasionally, until the fish is opaque and firm. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Shrimp Ceviche
Shrimp Ceviche
1 lb shrimp
1/4 C freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small strips
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
4 T cilantro, chopped

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the shrimp very briefly, no longer than 2-3 minutes. Drain it and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Combine with remaining ingredients and marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour.