Sunday 19 August 2012

snapper ceviche - ceviche de pargo

 Ceviche de Pargo

Ceviche is a dish I often crave because it combines some of my favourites things: sour citrus, spicy chilli and seafood.

It hails from the coastal countries of Central and South America with the Peruvians claiming to be the originators, spreading the word from their busy port-town of Lima. There’s also evidence that ancient Peruvians (Incans) made similar dishes from fermented liquors prior to the arrival of Europeans, who brought with them the precious citrus.

Polynesians also have their own ceviche, often including coconut milk, which seemed to evolve independently of the South Americans.

To make ceviche, I prefer to use firm white fleshed fish like snapper, swordfish or ling. If that’s not your thing, you can always use tuna, salmon or ocean trout.

Just make sure you use the freshest fish possible. Ask your fishmonger for very fresh fish (tell them what you're using it for) and make the ceviche on the same day you buy it.

Many recipes call for leaving the fish in the lime juice for hours, but I think this makes the fish quite tough. To ensure the fish is firm but still soft under your teeth, don’t “cook” it in the lime juice for any more than an hour.

The milky liquor that the fish has marinated in is called leche de tigre (tiger milk) or leche de pantera (panther milk) and in Peru it’s drunk in shot glasses as an appetiser. It’s rumoured to be a natural Viagra. I’m a bit sceptical about that claim, but it certainly tastes good so don’t throw it away.

Ceviche de Pargo (Snapper Ceviche)

Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 4 as a small starter.

300g snapper fillets, deboned
½ cup of fresh lime juice (about 3 large juicy limes)
½ small red onion, finely diced
1 tomato, deseeded & chopped into small pieces
1 small jalapeño chilli, finely sliced

To serve:
Chifles (plantain chips) or tostados (tortilla chips)
Fresh coriander, chopped
Fresh jalapeño chilli, sliced
Avocado, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Cube the fish into 3cm pieces.

2. In a non-reactive dish (plastic or ceramic), mix the raw fish pieces with the lime juice, jalapeño, red onion and tomato pieces.

3. Ensure all the fish is covered in lime juice and refrigerate for up to one hour before serving.

4. At this point you can either drain away the liquid to serve separately, or just keep them together.

5. Serve with fresh coriander, slices of avocado and jalapeño chillies.


  1. When I was a kid people used to marinate the fish for hours (apparently because people wanted to make sure the bacteria was "killed" by the acid). Nowadays the lime juice is poured just before serving.

    1. that's interesting.
      i also read somewhere that some people use frozen fish because they think it kills some specific parasite that might be in the fresh fish. not sure if that's true though.

  2. Anna, this looks so delicious! I love ceviche, but haven't ever made my own.

    1. It's super easy. You're a brave cook, what's stopped you?
      I remember once you mentioned that access to fresh fish in SLC isn't always great? If so, maybe you could make it next time you visit your brother?

  3. Wow this looks perfect! I've not actually prepared it at home but yet it's something my whole family loves. Hope you are well Anna.


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