To Die For Ceviche

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To Die For Ceviche

My present career began with ceviche.

After years as an academic, with two degrees and many policy research papers under my belt, with a husband, two kids and one on the way, I resigned from a prestigious think tank to walk a completely uncharted path.

I had been professionally frustrated for over a year and just continued to get involved in more projects in the office thinking I just had to work harder.

What triggered my career change was this: I had been asked to write a research paper comparing the democratic transitions of Mexico and Peru. Yet something was really off with me. Instead of doing my research on the political processes and crisis resolution tactics, I felt myself pulled to research the differences between Mexican and Peruvian ceviche.

Both countries boast to have the best ceviches, and both countries insist that they came up with the dish. I wondered about the true origins of ceviche in both countries. It has been recorded that the people of both countries had been eating raw fish since pre-Hispanic times…

But who got citrus first? How did their people come to use citrus to “cook” the fish, since citrus is native to neither country? What about chiles? Why is the spelling “ceviche” in one country and “cebiche” in the other, and what is the meaning and origin of the word? Why do Mexicans marinate their fish for a while, whereas Peruvians serve the citrus-dressed fish right away?

All I wanted to do was research, write about, and cook Mexican food – the food I missed so much. I knew it was time to pursue my passion in a more serious way.

My dad was perplexed about this change of direction. “After so many years of study, Pati, you are going into a kitchen to rinse pots and pans?”

Now I give him a hard time and respond, “…and to make the best ever ceviches.”

I have made many a ceviche over the course of the more than a decade since I switched careers. And I’ve liked each and every one.

But this one is truly special. And it is my very favorite one.

To Die For Ceviche
Print Recipe
4-6 servings Ceviche Que Te Mueres
Ingredients
  • 1 pound red snapper filet (or another mild flavored fish like grouper, trout, flounder, sole or rock fish), cut in small (about 1/2 inch) dice
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno chile stemmed and coarsely chopped, or to taste, seeding optional
  • 1/2 cup celery sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and upper part of stems, chopped
  • 1 cup (about 1 large) ripe mango diced
  • 1 cup (about 1 large) ripe avocado diced
  • 1/3 cup (about 2) tomatillos husked and scrubbed, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt or to taste
  • Tortilla chips or tostadas
To Prepare
  • Combine the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, jalapeño, celery, 1/4 cup of the sliced red onion, 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro, and the salt in a blender and puree until completely smooth.
  • Place the fish in a bowl, add the pureed mixture, and toss well. Cover and let marinate for 20 to 25 minutes outside the refrigerator before serving, stirring from time to time. If marinating for more than 25 minutes, cover and refrigerate.
  • When ready to serve, add the rest of the onion and cilantro, the mango, avocado, tomatillo and cacao nibs if using. Toss well, taste for salt and add more as needed. Serve with tortilla chips (totopos) or tostadas.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound red snapper filet (or another mild flavored fish like grouper, trout, flounder, sole or rock fish), cut in small (about 1/2 inch) dice
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno chile stemmed and coarsely chopped, or to taste, seeding optional
  • 1/2 cup celery sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and upper part of stems, chopped
  • 1 cup (about 1 large) ripe mango diced
  • 1 cup (about 1 large) ripe avocado diced
  • 1/3 cup (about 2) tomatillos husked and scrubbed, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt or to taste
  • Tortilla chips or tostadas
To Prepare
  • Combine the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, jalapeño, celery, 1/4 cup of the sliced red onion, 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro, and the salt in a blender and puree until completely smooth.
  • Place the fish in a bowl, add the pureed mixture, and toss well. Cover and let marinate for 20 to 25 minutes outside the refrigerator before serving, stirring from time to time. If marinating for more than 25 minutes, cover and refrigerate.
  • When ready to serve, add the rest of the onion and cilantro, the mango, avocado, tomatillo and cacao nibs if using. Toss well, taste for salt and add more as needed. Serve with tortilla chips (totopos) or tostadas.

59 comments on “To Die For Ceviche

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  1. Last time I had ceviche was 11 years ago at the beach in northern Cali. Your recipe was truly “to die for”!!!! Sherrie

  2. Wow! All I can say is wow! Made this tonight, the only adjustment I had to make is the fish . They didn’t have red snapper at the market. But the seasoning and marinade are spot-on. Very good dish!

  3. I tried this recipe, almost immediately after seeing it on PBS. I had to make a few adjustments, because I didn’t have a mango, but wow, it was delicious! I also let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours, and it mixed all the flavors together, and tasted even better, then it did at 30 minutes.

    Thank you for sharing such great recipes.

    All the way from Idaho.

    Andy

  4. I am addicted to your ceviche; I have made your recipe,
    and all my friends and family loved it!

    So, I told them how to find your page online!

    Appreciaitvely,

    Marion J Rojas (I was the only survivor of twins, and my father filled out my birthcertificate; did not know “Marian!”

  5. Hola Paty, gracias por enseñar al mundo nuestra riqueza culinaria, me encanta tu programa soy una gran fan tuya al igual me esposo…. nos encanto esta receta de ceviche nos hacen sentir parte de tu familia a través de la pantalla ya conocemos tus hijos y esposo eres un Orgullo Mexicano!!!!

  6. Hello Pati
    Did you ever come to a difinite conclusion as to which country invented civiche. I’m curios because my father was Peruvian and my mom who is Ecuadorian learned to make ceviche the Peruvian way.
    I just started watching your show and the passion you have for the cuisine of Mexico is contagious and infectious. I can’t wait to try this and more of your recipes.
    Best regards,
    Frida

  7. Hello Pati
    Did you ever come to a difinite conclusion as to which country invented civiche. I’m curios because my father was Peruvian and my mom who is Ecuadorian learned to make ceviche the Peruvian way.
    I just started watching your show and the passion you have for the cuisine of Mexico is contagious and infectious. I can’t wait to try this and more of your recipes.
    Best regards,
    Frida

    1. ​Oh thank you! Turns out that we are all quite even: Mexicans and Peruvians were eating raw fish, spiked with salt and spices before the Spanish arrived… ​

  8. Love your passion(s)! How very interesting! But … you leave us hanging 🙂 What are the answers to your ceviche questions above?

  9. Love your passion(s)! How very interesting! But … you leave us hanging 🙂 What are the answers to your ceviche questions above?

  10. Your job in a think tank doesn’t surprise me. I could tell you were very intelligent the first time I saw you on TV. I’m glad you switched to being a chef. I believe that everyone should pursue their passion to be truly happy. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes.

  11. Doesn’t surprise me. I could tell you were very intelligent the first time I saw you on TV. I’m glad you are a chef. I strongly believe that you need to pursue your passion to be truly happy. Thank you for the wonderful recipes.

      1. I haven’t made it yet. I have eaten Ceviche from the Officer’s Club at the old Fort Clayton Base in Panama, which was exceptional. I hope this is as good. Pati your making my mouth water just thinking of it.

  12. Making this tonite for missionary friends who are leaving San Diego for 3 years in Norway. Hope this makes them homesick. I’m substituting blood oranges because…well…Shelley went with nectarines.

  13. Omg, I just made this for Mother’s day lunch and you’re right, it’s to die for. I used nectarines instead of mangoes since I had them here and it’s still delicious. Thanks! Your recipes never disappoint, Pati.

  14. Thanks for sharing this, Pati. I had to laugh when you described the difference between the Peruvian and Mexican approaches to this classic dish. My first experience with Ceviche was in a small restaurant in the Mid-west US many years ago. My co-workers were both Mexican and Peruvian. One day (after a fairly long night of imbibing I might add) my good friend Kike (de Peru) promised to make some civiche for breakfast. I didn’t know what it was. He did use Snapper with lots of garlic, onions, peppers and lemon. As I recall he also used lettuce as well, which was interesting. My point is that he let it sit for maybe a few minutes before serving. I thought I was eating raw fish! But it was really fantastic and delicious. I look forward to trying your recipe. Thanks again!

  15. Hi Pati,
    I just saw your mango, avocado, bacon shrimp rolls on TODAY. They look amazing. I’m unable to eat avocado. What if anything, would you suggest as a replacement for avocado?
    Thank you!!
    Myrna

    1. If you don’t like avocado, you can either skip it or add cherry tomatoes, asparagus or corn…. I think those would be lovely in there too!

    1. ​Yes! Raw shrimp would be lovely, marinade is the same time. ​ ​You can also quickly “blanche” the shrimp, in hot boiling water for 1 minute. ​

  16. Is this your version of ceviche? If not, where did it come from? Never heard of adding mangos, orange juice or cacao nibs to it. But then the world’s cuisine varies a lot!

  17. Pineapple is a new world citrus fruit; is there any evidence that it was used in ceviche prior to the arrival of lemons, limes, etc.?

  18. I can eat Ceviche every day! I Just had Cebiche Chileno yesterday and it was amazing with cucumber. I can’t wait to try your recipe. My mouth is watering now.