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Ceviche science.


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I have decided to dabble in ceviche, but it's a bit daunting. I have Tilapia fillets just for the purpose, along with the requisite citrus fruit (lemons, limes, oranges); cumin, red onions, shallots, balsamic, sea salt. I'm wondering if there is a rule of thumb for marinating time, thickness of the cut or strength of the citrus. I'd like to avoid undercooking without denaturing the protein.

Does anyone have any ceviche tips or advice?

Also, on a purely academic level, is there a certain PH to shoot for in the acid?

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The acid in the citrus cases the protien in the fish to coagulate and cook as well as supposedly destroying harmful bacteria. That said, I don't make a ceviche with fish that is not of sashimi quality. PH? This is not Qualitaitive Chemistry and a PH Tester is not needed. If it tates sour to you then it is OK. Small pieces rather than a whole piece insure 'cooking'. -Dick

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Only made it once with a fresh caught largemouth bass. I know it was fresh cause it was in the lime juice 45 min out of the water. Took it to a Chefs retirement party and it was a big hit. They all wanted the recipe; and where did I cook? Hell, I'm a carpenter but I play a chef on the weekends.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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i'm not sure i'd make ceviche with freshwater fish. too many parasites (many of which can withstand pretty low ph). tilapia is a freshwater fish, but it is farmed, so it might be a little better (though i've never liked the flavor). a good starter for ceviche is raw shrimp. it's clean, firms up well and tastes great.

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I second russ's vote for shrimp. I have also done scallops. But my favorite is a firm fleshed salt water fish that flopped on the deck about ten minutes ago. We always took the ceviche ingredients on offshore fishing trips. Mahi-mahi (dorado) is my favorite but ling, tuna, wahoo, snapper and many others are superb as well. We tend toward using lime juice.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I prefer to quickly poach shrimp before using it, but it is great. If you ever have a chance to eat ceviche in Mazatlan, nearly all of it is served with shrimp and is fantastic (Mazatlan being the shrimping capital of Mexico). Freshness is all-important. I like to give about 6 hours in the acid. In Mexico they'll often serve it will crackers, but I prefer tostadas and any sort of pico de gallo. Russ is right about freshwater fish, too, especially warm freshwater fish like bass. But I had a friend get sick from brook trout when he decided he would see what trout "sushi" tasted like on a camping trip. (The mountains of Montana and Wyoming are the wrong place to have la turista.)

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Fresh water fish is a no-no for sashimi and ceviche as correctly mentioned because of the parasites. Why it is different for sea fish, I need to investigate as sea fish do have parasites also. As I said before, i use only sahimi grade fish for ceviche. -Dick

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Fresh water fish is a no-no for sashimi and ceviche as correctly mentioned because of the parasites. Why it is different for sea fish, I need to investigate as sea fish do have parasites also. As I said before, i use only sahimi grade fish for ceviche. -Dick

During the process of marinating raw fish (not while making seviche), I have become personally acquainted with a number of long, thin worms, so I myself would hesitate to use anything but shellfish, regardless of how fresh it is.

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