You say Ceviche, I say delicious!
Centuries ago, many believed that a vast fortune existed in Peru. Rumors abounded of a treasure kept by the Inca and cities made of gold. While many of these tall tales are just that, tales, there is one Peruvian treasure that’s very real. And unlike the ruins which dot the landscape around Machu Pichu, you won’t need a passport to find it. The treasure in question is Ceviche—the national dish of Peru and a delicacy whose lineage dates back centuries.
What is Ceviche?
Ceviche is fish, served with lime juice and a chili pepper called aji. While the origins of the dish vary, it’s believed that it began in Lima, and later spread throughout Latin America after the various Spanish conquests. There are several different variations of the dish that exist in Ecuador, Columbia, and even as far north as Mexico. While lime juice was not present until the arrival of the Spanish, its addition provides Ceviche with a healthy and unique attribute.
The Ingredients coming together
There’s no question that fish has long been a source of protein for several cultures. Its preparation varies greatly depending upon where you travel. It’s believed that in the pre-conquistador era of Peru, salt brine-cured the fish during preparation. While some have led themselves to believe that the fish in Ceviche is raw, this is certainly not the case.
Because the fish is prepared with lime juice, the protein gets cooked in a unique and interesting way. Limes contain a chemical known as citric acid. The acid, which is also lethal to ants and small insects, chemically denatures the fish. This process normally takes upwards of thirty minutes, and prolonged exposure will result in a ‘pickling’ of the protein. Citric acid does not kill parasites, so it’s advised that you handle your choice of protein with care and take the necessary hygienic precautions.
Because fish and lime juice do not a Ceviche make, aji, the third and final ingredient is what gives this dish its bold kick. A staple of many Peruvian foods, many chefs advise blanching (plunging into boiling water) before usage in Ceviche. Aji is most ideal for those wanting to experience an authentic Peruvian Ceviche. However, jalapeños and banana peppers can also be used as a substitution.
Serve it now, serve it fresh, serve it healthy
Because the primary ingredient for Seviche is fresh fish, it’s best consumed after preparation. If there are leftovers, it’s advised that they’re consumed within a short time frame. Experts have recommended the dish for heart health, due to its high concentrations of Omega 3 and antioxidants. An ideal dish for anyone looking to approach a healthier diet, this Peruvian delicacy might be the perfect starting point to a healthier lifestyle.
For Ceviche, and another completely authentic cuisine, Jalisco’s Mexican Grill is the premier dining establishment in Sarasota. Located on 8389 S Tamiami Trail, located off of route 40, it’s the ideal location for mouthwatering cuisine and finely crafted margaritas. Open 7 days a week, there’s no excuse to not indulge.