We’re Crushing Hard on Ceviche Right Now

Friends and readers, summer has officially come to an end. As the rain settles in, so must close the days of lounging on the patio, sipping icy mojitos, and chip dipping. Don’t get me wrong, autumn is a welcome season in its own right, offering much to look forward to; garden harvests, savoury soups, hot apple cider, cozy sweaters.  Nevertheless, for the sake of transitioning with ease, I have been thinking about the quintessence of summer foods; refreshing, light, mouthwatering and best shared with friends. The one dish that keeps coming to mind is ceviche (“sey-BEE-chay”).

Hugely popular in Central and South America, ceviche (marinated seafood salad) is typically made from bite size pieces of raw fish cured in citrus juices (usually lime) along with salt and seasonings (usually chilies and cilantro). The citric acid in the juice partially “cooks” the fish by altering the proteins, making it firmer and opaque. Being a signature dish in many Latin countries, it may (or may not) come as a surprise to you that ceviche happens to be a regular menu item at several Victoria restaurants including, the Tapa Bar, Santiago’s, Pescatores, and The Oyster Bar. With access to an abundance of fresh seafood such as octopus, prawns, scallops, and halibut, ceviche is a favoured dish among many of our local chefs. While it might tempting to think of ceviche solely as a summer dish, it doesn’t have to be. I think it’s the perfect appetizer or in-between dish that can be enjoyed any time of the year. It’s exceptionally colorful and looks lovely when plated, or served in individual portions, or on top of a crisp corn tostada. Ceviche is also relatively simple to make, and is a great choice for dinner parties.

Fresh Ceviche

I spoke with Pescatores and The Oyster Bar head chef, Marcelo Najarro (originally from El Salvadore), to ask his opinion on whether ceviche should be regarded as a hot weather food. While he agreed that it’s the ideal summer accompaniment, he confirmed my opinion that ceviche can (and should) be eaten whenever the fancy strikes. “Sure, people associate citrus with summer, but there are tons of ways to do ceviche,” says Najarro. “In the winter months, you can make it heavier by adding more spice, or a little basil and tomatoes to the marinade. It’s a wonderful amuse-bouche between an appy and your main dish.” Pescatores makes a daily ceviche for $13-$14, with rotating ingredients throughout the seasons. Still lingering on the tail end of summer, Najarro prepared a lively mixture of baby scallops, octopus, hand peeled shrimp, and clams in a marinade of lime, passionfruit, and grapefruit juices with plenty of cilantro, some finely diced red onions, peppers, and crispy fried chickpeas for a nice contrast. This ceviche, I might add, requires no chips to dip; it’s packed with flavour and the crispy crunch of the chickpeas adds just the right touch. Rica Salsa, in Cook Street Village makes a vibrant ceviche as a special (usually during summer months) but can be prepared on request and ordered through their catering.

Photo: RICA Salsa

Photo: RICA Salsa



(compliments of Chef Ricardo Becerra)



Note: As always, when working with fish, the fresher the better. As well, the longer you marinade ceviche the more “cooked” it becomes. Most recipes will call for a brief marinade but some call for longer marinade times.   16 oz. tilapia or halibut (pre cooked shrimp & scallops can also be added) 2 chilli jalapenos 10 limes ½ tsp. Salt ¼ tsp. pepper 1 tsp. oregano 1 medium purple onion ½ cup red cabbage ½ cup green cabbage ½ cup carrots ½ bunch of cilantro 1 English cucumber ¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup green or black olives 2 avocados Chopped pineapple   Method:   Cut fish into thin small symmetric 1/8 in. squares. Blend lime juice, chilli, and jalapenos and put through a sieve. Add sea salt, oregano, fresh ground pepper, olive oil, olives, and finely chopped onion to the above. Pour over fish and marinate 2 – 3 hours in refrigerator.   Grate carrots and finely chop cucumber, green & red cabbage and cilantro. Refrigerate in a separate bowl.


8 fresh corn tortillas 1 cup of canola oil   Method: Fry tortillas in hot canola oil. Lemon &

Garlic Aioli:

½ cup mayonnaise 2 oz. lemon juice 1 garlic clove Pinch of powdered red chilli powder, oregano & paprika   Method:   Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup catsup 1 oz lemon juice 1 cup grapefruit flavoured soda ½ cup of clamato juice 20 drop of Worchester sauce 15 drops of Tabasco Sauce   Method:   Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir.   Preparation:   Spread aioli on tostada, top with a large spoonful of ceviche, followed by chopped mixed veggies, cocktail sauce and avocado slices. Garnish with a slice of lime or lemon and chopped pineapple. (Can also be served as a cocktail.)   Don’t like seafood? Try this vegetarian ceviche salad (ceviche de veduras) as a refreshing alternative.   Find that recipe here.

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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