Oh snap, it’s time for red snapper ceviche! Ceviche has long been a staple for warmer weather with its fresh fish and citrus that’s light & bright, a little spicy, and devilishly acidic taste. Ceviche is one quick way to liven up any menu, and will have guests impressed with your culinary prowess without too much work on your end!
The science behind ceviche is quite simple. Chunks of raw fish are tossed in an acidic marinade, most commonly plain citrus juice. While the fish sits in the marinade, the citric acid from the juice slowly causes the fish’s proteins to denature in a similar way that heating it would from traditional cooking.
Ceviche is a dish older than time, in fact we have no recipes for the earliest versions. We imagine they were made in or near Huanacho, a town on the northern Pacific coast of Peru. It’s believed that 3,000 years ago, the fisherman ate their catch straight from the sea. The Moche people, a pre-Inca civilization, were believed to be the first people to eat raw fish cured in acid. However, the Moche people wouldn’t have had the citrus that is critical for ceviche. Only South America’s indigenous chilis, which had been cultivated for around 6,000 years. Onions, and citrus didn’t appear after Columbus arrived in 1492 which was followed by lemons and limes brought from Asia by Spanish and Portuguese traders.
Some historians think ancient cooks might originally have used the juice of the tumbo, a distant cousin of the passion fruit, with lime being a natural substitute when it arrived. Other historians believe that hot pepper was another potential culprit before limes came to town.