Ceviche is impossible to mess up, yet I rarely order it when out. I love fish, particularly raw fish, but I have such distrust for how fish is handled and prepared in restaurant settings that salmonella and food poisoning just does not seem worth the risk.
The American food system is such a mess. We have overfished shrimp, tuna and other breeds of fish, that retailers and restaurateurs alike will buy their shellfish from abroad, importing diseased garbage from Asia, while intentionally mislabeling tuna, snapper and salmon. We have made our fish situation worse than factory-farmed chicken, beef and pork. And that is saying something.
This is the danger you encounter when you order, or try to make ceviche at home the proper (Peruvian) way by marinating the raw fish in acidic citrus so that the chemical reaction “cooks” the fish. Unless you live near the docks where the fish comes off the boat, or have a damn good source, I would be leery of using the ceviche method.
It’s a shame, because that is exactly what I wanted to do with my cod fillet this evening. After squeezing three lemons, four limes, one ruby red grapefruit and two navel oranges, I had plenty of citrus juice. My problem was that even though my cod from Wegmans was labeled as “Wild Caught Atlantic Cod,” I have no reason to trust Wegmans’ supplier that it was not the more inferior (and potentially radioactive) Pacific cod, farm-raised, or not cod at all (Oceana finds that hake — bottom-feeding, nutritionally-deficient fish — is often sold as cod).
In an effort to not poison The Wife or I, the fish went in a hot skillet for 2 to 3 minutes until everything was sufficiently cooked and heated through.
An oyster is an oyster. You know what that is and you take the small risk that you’ll get a bad one every so often. But with processed fish, I hate to be this guy, but safety first.
WHAT WORKED: Fresh citrus just floods the kitchen with a great smell and it goes great as a summer flavor profile.
WHAT DIDN’T: Stupid food chain.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy.
BEST FOR: A weeknight dinner or light and casual weekend dinner.
SERVE WITH: Shredded cabbage, good salsa and some lime wedges.