Daring Cooks do Ceviche – Grapefruit and mint ceviche salad

by Jenn on March 14, 2011

in Dairy Free,Daring Kitchen,Diabetic Friendly,Seafood

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This month’s Daring Cooks challenge is all about Peruvian classics – there were actually two challenges this month – ceviche and papas rellenas.  Feeling in the need for some lighter fare, I decided to choose the ceviche for this month.  This was a fun challenge because I got to do something new.  I’ve marinated seafood in acid before in a ceviche-inspired salad, but never ever actually started with raw fish. So here is to another daring first!

I first had ceviche in Washington, D.C. at a trendy little Mexican restaurant with some friends a few years back while I was there for a conference.  I was a little skeptical of raw seafood then (this was back before I ate sushi even), but I really loved how the bright sharp citrus flavors worked so well with fish and the spicy chilli peppers, and ever since I have been a big fan. I’ve always loved a really strong punch of flavor, so ceviche is perfectly suited for my palate.

Now living in a land-locked country, it’s not the easiest to get fresh caught seafood (and I’m not exactly sure how well fresh-water fish do for ceviche, so wanted to stick with ocean fish), but I found some sustainably (well if you don’t count the travel to the other side of the world) caught Pacific cod – while it was pre-frozen, I’m not sure I can get seafood of any sort that wasn’t.  Not ideal, but it worked really well!

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

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Ceviche is really interesting in that you start with raw fish and end up with “cooked” fish, and yet no heat is applied.  The acid in the citrus juice chemically reacts with the proteins in the fish – the drop in pH from the acid causes the protein to denature – this is what happens when heat is applied during a traditional cooking process as well, and so why I call the fish “cooked” even though I never turned on my oven or stovetop.  From a safety standpoint, it is good to know that unlike applying heat, the acid may not be enough to kill harmful pathogens – so it is important to use the freshest fish possible, or at least make sure it was frozen immediately at the source where it was caught.

The amount of time required to marinate the fish depends on the type and the amount of “doneness” you prefer.  Flakier white fishes tend to require less time, but some fish can require the better part of a day or more.  For this challenge, I let the cod marinate for a good hour, and it was fine by then.

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To put my own spin on the dish, I added grapefruit to the traditional lime.  Grapefruit is still a very tart and acidic citrus (unlike say, oranges), so I thought it would work well to help “cook” the fish and add a slightly different dimension of flavor.  Then, when plating, I added in another one of my favorite seafoods – octopus – I love the color and shape of octopus, and it complemented the cod well.

To balance all of the acidity in the ceviche juice, I turned it into a dressing of sorts by whisking in some olive oil.  Then a fair amount of mint leaves were also added – normally I’ve only ever had ceviche with cilantro or parsley – but I love grapefruit and mint together, and thought it would work out well.  I think the fresh mint helped tone things down a bit, while still adding flavor.

Overall, the ceviche was a great success – thanks so much to our host for this month, and hope you enjoy this new technique for a fun spin on some favorite seafood flavors!

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Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 14, 2011 at 12:12 am

Jenn I love your take on this challenge – I was thinking it would appeal to you because of the “chemistry” part of it all! Your photos are beautiful and I love the colours and flavours in your dish. I am especially fond of mint and grapefruit paired together and can totally see how this would work with ceviche. Definitely going to try your version next time!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 1:55 am

Thanks Mardi Yeah ceviche is an interesting dish from a chemistry perspective for sure – the idea of “cooking” without heat is really kinda cool :)

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Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) March 14, 2011 at 12:49 am

What magnificent photos. Just beautiful to look at. I make a dish with raw marinated tuna. It’s very different than this one, but I love the way the acids ‘cook’ the fish just enough to take the rawness out. Delicious and SO pretty.

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 1:57 am

Thanks so much! Oooh I’d be really interested to see your marinated tuna dish! I’ve had tuna in sushi/sashimi before, but never tried it in a ceviche-style dish before.

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Ruth H. March 14, 2011 at 1:51 am

What beautiful ceviche and plating! I love the idea of adding grapefruit to the marinade. What a great flavor it must have had! What a great, Daring dish you created!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 1:58 am

Oh thank you! We’ve been getting some wonderful grapefruits lately, and I love finding new ways to incorporate them into food :)

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Wolf March 14, 2011 at 2:14 am

Very lovely job! I used cod in mine as well, but I did it for 4 hours, roughly, and added scallops instead of Octopus.}:P

I love your plates too!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 2:16 am

Thanks! Yes I think mild flavored cod + stronger flavored seafood makes a great combo :)

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Shelley C March 14, 2011 at 2:30 am

Wow – those are absolutely beautiful pictures of a beautiful, fresh dish. Your ceviche looks and sounds delicious. Absolutely wonderful job on the challenge.

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 2:32 am

Thank you!!

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Renata March 14, 2011 at 2:57 am

Even not being a fan of raw fish/seafood I have to admit that your Ceviche is looking so good. I love the combination with grapefruit and mint. And your photos are stunning!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 8:00 am

Thanks so much Renata!

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Iris March 14, 2011 at 7:58 am

I love ceviche! I’ve always wanted to make my own, but I’m a bit intimidated by the thought of not cooking the fish…somehow I’m convinced I’ll do it wrong!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 8:02 am

Don’t be intimidated! It really does work – just make sure the fish is submerged in the citrus and make sure to use only acidic citrus (no orange) – then the trick is just the timing – not enough and it will still be raw inside, too long and it will be “overcooked” – but that is true with any cooking process for fish, so you just have to check it :)

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Rosa March 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

I love cerviche. Yours looks wonderful and so beautifully presented.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 10:28 am

Thanks Rosa!

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Mika March 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

I discovered your blog two days ago, I still have to read all of your post and your about page…but what I saw is so wonderful that I’m already in love…
I’m vegetarian so no salad for me, but I hope once you are going to post your version of papas rellenas, I love them… ^_^

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 10:28 am

Oh thank you so much! Yes I will definitely have to try the papas rellenas sometime :)

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Anita Menon March 14, 2011 at 10:24 am

I cannot fathom eating raw fish or octopus. But the pictures make it look as if it might be okay to try.
Stunning pictures..addition of grapefruit gives it that dash of color. Is that purple thingy, an octopus piece?

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 10:30 am

Thanks! That’s the beauty of ceviche – you start with raw fish, but it ends up “cooked” by the acid, so it is technically not raw when you eat it. It is firm and opaque just as if it had been cooked with heat. Yes the purple pieces are the octopus – it was not raw, it was cooked beforehand and added to the ceviche after the fish marinated in the citrus juice.

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Simone March 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

I love your creative look on the ceviche and it looks absolutely gorgeous! I forgot to mention in my post how long the cod marinated… Beautiful pictures!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Thanks so much Simone!

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Claire March 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I love your simply beautiful ceviche and the presentation and photography are superb! Well done! :)

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Thank you!

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Rochelle (Acquired Taste) March 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!! I want to make ceviche with octopus and plate it on a plate such as these!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Thanks Rochelle! The octopus was definitely different for me, but I really liked it!

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blepharisma March 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Grapefruit and mint sounds like a great combination.
Your photos look great!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Thanks so much!

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Laura @ Family Spice March 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Your pictures are stunning! I love the idea of mint and grapefruit for the ceviche. Wonderfully done!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Thank you!

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Shawnda March 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I love ceviche. And I love grapefruit. I have never thought to combine the two before now. I can’t wait to try it!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Thanks so much, hope you enjoy it!

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Lana March 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I was really happy with the ceviche as well, and I followed the original recipe. I love your photos – black background accentuates beautifully the colors of the dish and gives it even lighter feel.

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Oh thank you Lana!

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lo March 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Jenn – This is absolutely gorgeous — and I love what you’ve done with the gorgeous colors of the dish, not to mention the flavors. I was so sorry we (accidentally) missed this challenge this month (got my dates mixed up). I was so looking forward to making the ceviche!

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Thanks! Well I’m sure there are many great occasions for making ceviche in the future, especially as the weather warms up a bit, so I’m sure you’ll find the right time – it was a fun challenge :)

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Miss Nirvana March 15, 2011 at 3:05 am

Jenn, I love your choice to plate your ceviche on black. Very creative and it really makes your pictures pop. Great job.

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Jenn March 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

Thanks so much! It was a fun experiment, I don’t usually take pictures with a dark background, but wanted to give it a try to see how it would go.

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A Cooking Dad March 15, 2011 at 3:16 am

The grapefruit sounds like an interesting twist. Very nice photos.

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Jenn March 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

Thanks!!

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outoftheoven March 15, 2011 at 3:40 am

Wow! Your ceviche is stunning! Fantastic job on the challenge.

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Jenn March 15, 2011 at 7:46 am

Thank you !

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Asha@FSK March 15, 2011 at 3:49 am

Just gorgeous!!!

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Jenn March 15, 2011 at 7:46 am

Thanks Asha!

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Lois March 15, 2011 at 7:18 am

Wow, your ceviche is so colorful! Like the hint of red and green – they add much to the overall look of the dish.

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Jenn March 15, 2011 at 7:49 am

Thanks so much !

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Deborah March 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Octopus! Great idea. I love the pictures too. You did a great job on the challenge… Congratulations! :)

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Jenn March 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Thanks so much! Was a lot of fun :)

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Kankana March 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Looks so tempting and delicious!

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Jenn March 16, 2011 at 8:00 am

Thanks!

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Robert March 16, 2011 at 12:09 am

Hands down this is the best presentation of ceviche I have seen all day. (I am reading lots of posts) Not just beautiful but I am very intrigued by the flavors and excecution. I agree that just a drizzle of olive oil is essential in a proper ceviche. The mint and grapefruit are wonderful additions.

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Jenn March 16, 2011 at 8:02 am

Oh wow, thanks so much Robert! Yeah the olive oil was just a little touch to help balance the tartness from all the acidity…I felt it helped round things out a bit.

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Denise@There's a Newf in My Soup! March 16, 2011 at 12:21 am

Jenn – My absolute favorite plating from the challenge – such beautiful colors, and I love the sound of segmented grapefruit. Beautiful, as always.

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Jenn March 16, 2011 at 8:02 am

Thanks so much Denise!

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Amanda L. (Tales from a Kitchen Misfit) March 16, 2011 at 2:51 am

This look great! I went with the papas rellenas because I was a little too scared of the ceviche, but reading all these posts makes me want to try it!

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Jenn March 16, 2011 at 8:03 am

Thanks! Yes definitely give ceviche a try sometime – and I need to try the papas rellenas!

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InTolerantChef March 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm

How nice and fresh! I love zingy citrus flavours, Yumm…

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Jenn March 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Thanks!! Citrus is perfect for this time of year :)

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Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc March 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

This looks healthy and refreshing. I have never had ceviche before, and didn’t know what it is before reading your blog. Thanks for teaching me something new:)

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Jenn March 16, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Oh thanks! I think this is a rather healthy dish, and really easy to put together :)

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Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris March 17, 2011 at 8:29 am

I loved this version of Ceviche and your photos are spectacular (as always), now, with all my respect, I must say that one hour of marination “overcooks” the fish, and therefore becomes hard. Ceviche is only 10/15 minutes..it’s like with shrimp, and fish in general…the more you cook, the harder they get. I hope you don’t mind this remark, since I believe we bloggers have to say something more than “how beautiful!” all the time…if not our comments don’t make any sense..
With all my admiration to your great work!
Cristina

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Jenn March 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

oh very interesting! I’ve seen several recipes that have called for much longer times than one hour. I didn’t have any issues with the texture of the fish being white throughout and firm, maybe because I had to use pre-frozen fish? I will definitely have to try this again, the correct way and using really fresh fish!

And no I definitely don’t mind your comment – how else do we learn if not for our friends helping us out along the way? :)

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Jackie Baisa March 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

It sounds incredibly flavorful. In fact, thinking about all those flavors together just made my mouth water. HAH!

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Jenn March 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Thanks Jackie!

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