Oh, for a frosty flute of cava, a dish of fresh ceviche, and a beach somewhere…take me there now…
Not too many dishes whisk you away from your humdrum meat-and-potatoes-life like a chilled serving of ceviche. Composed of raw marinated seafood, ceviche is believed to have originated in Peru. And if you have ever been to Peru, you understand that the Peruvians treasure and celebrate seafood with absolute passion. Peruvian ceviche is sublime.
However, Peru may not own all the credit for the existence of ceviche. When I am tracking down the source of any recipe, I usually look at its name. Unfortunately, the origin of the name ceviche is a little unclear. Some scholars insist that ceviche relates to the Arabic word sikbaj, which means meat marinated in vinegar, and others argue that the roots of the word are Quechua, the language of the Inca tribe of Peru.
Most ceviche recipes feature onions, which were not a native vegetable in the Americas. Onions are native to the Middle East. Citrus fruits, such as lime or sour orange, also originated in the Middle East, so the traditional onion flavor and acidic marinades of Peruvian ceviche were later additions to the recipe.
I believe that the Incans of Peru traditionally ate raw fish that had been cured with salt and aji chiles. Once the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 1500’s, and brought their ingredients such as citrus and onions from the Old World, the recipe changed. Almost all ceviche that I have ever enjoyed contain both crispy fresh onions and tangy citrus juice. The dish evolved from simply a raw fish to a combination of Old and New World ingredients.
This is a great dish for novice chefs. Easy, impressive, and loads of history to chat about, while you pour yourself another glass of Cava.
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