The first time I was introduced to ceviche was almost eight years ago in a restaurant in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.
“Gord, you can’t eat that! It’s raw fish. You’re going to get sick.”
I was so wrong!
This hugely popular Central American dish is made from fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice, and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions and salt are also added.
Is ceviche cooked?
A dish in which raw fish is marinated in citrus juice, isn’t cooked. But it’s not exactly raw, either. Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation. In this process, the heat or citric acid changes the proteins in the fish, unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical and physical properties. When fish is bathed in citrus juices, this process of denaturation turns the flesh firm and opaque, as if it had been cooked with heat.
Ceviche spooned onto crackers with a dash of chile now happens to be one of my favorite appetizers. It’s a nice light tasty snack that is great for sharing.
If you enjoy fish (cooked or raw) and have yet to sample ceviche I high recommend you give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Author’s Note: The dish shown in the photo is a shrimp ceviche that I enjoyed poolside at Rocamar restaurant in San Juan del Sur. Cost was C$110 ($4.40 USD).