Supposedly, the Quechua word for that wonderful dish of citrus juice and raw fish is siwichi, and that became ceviche in Spanish. Others suggest that it comes from the word escabeche. Either way, this South American dish is one of my favorite things in this world, as is anything that involves seafood, especially when it does not involve the application heat (uh, oyster and wine, hello?).
So, I decided to make some this past week. It's a simple preparation. I bought a half pound of halibut, which was actually the most expensive fish I could buy. I really should have gone with the tilapia, which was half the price, but I didn't see it until the fishmonger was already cutting off my piece.
I diced the fish in fairly large pieces, then I juiced two limes and a lemon and poured the juice over the fish. I also finely diced half an onion and half a jalapeño (minus the seeds). I put those in with the fish, along with a fair amount of salt, and put the whole thing in the frigo overnight.
The next day, for lunch, I heated up some tortillas, chopped a large amount of cilantro (probably three tablespoons), poured off the juice into another container, and served up some ceviche tacos.
I think I used to much lime juice, because it was very bitter. Salting more helped. Maybe ceviche has to be a salty dish, or maybe it needs lemon. I would also like to try out sour oranges.
The fish flavor was also lost in the midst of all the other ingredients. I think, if I make it again, I'll either use a stronger-flavored fish or else cut the pieces to be larger (closer to the size of a gumball).
The tortillas got water-logged almost instantly, and a water-logged tortilla resembles masa more than a tortilla. Also, they cooled off almost instantly, which was kind of disappointing. I think tostadas or just in a bowl are the ways forward from here.
There was no spice from the chiles. I'm not sure if the dish is supposed to be about the flavor of the chiles, rather than their spice, or if I made it wrong, but I definitely got no capsaicin whatsoever. Maybe I should crush some seeds next time (but just a few, I don't want it to be overwhelmingly spicy).