Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Saturday, February 16, 2013


To cook or not to cook… that is the question. Ceviche. How can citrus juice cook fish? Doesn’t cooking require a “heated” element? Well… yes and no. Denaturation is the chemical procure in which heat, and or citric acid (think lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime juices), change the proteins of fish – actually by unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical and physical makeup. When cooked with heat, fish will gradually become firm and opaque, as well as flake. Through denaturation, the fish marinated in citrus juices for ceviche become firm and opaque, as if been cooked with heat. Forwarning… citric acid will not actually kill bacteria in the same manner as actually cooking fish with heat. Ergo, it is essential to use fish that is fresh, disease-free and parasite-free. In order to eliminate the dangers of consuming raw fish, one can simply blanch the fish for 1-2 minutes in boiling water before marinating. This will actually maintain the texture of the fish while it is marinating, as opposed to being served raw. When preparing, cut the fish into bite-sized strips in order to 1) be easier to consume 2) be more visually appealing and 3) if raw, it will “cook” faster in the citrus juices. A flakier, lighter fish (scallops, flounder, snapper, dover sole) will only need to marinate for 15 minutes. A more hearty, dense fish (mahi mahi, salmon, tuna, shark) will need more time (about an hour). My favorite ceviche? Lemon, orange and lime juices, avocado, mango, red bell pepper, hint of EVOO, sea salt, pinch of cayenne pepper, and a plethora of fresh cilantro (love cilantro!!) My favorite fish in ceviche is actually cooked shrimp and scallops (I know, I know… it’s not a “real ceviche,” but it is what it is). As the chef, you have free reign to prepare foods to your liking (and to the liking of those that you love). Do not feel guilty about enjoying foods that are not “properly prepared.” For example, California rolls, though fully cooked, are still sushi. A steak, (this kills me to say…) – if one enjoys their meat served well done… then cook it well done. {at least try it med-rare at some point in your life, please!!} If you want a simple eggs, grits and bacon breakfast, don’t go “Frenching it up” with fancy herbs and spices. This does not mean to stray away from trying new things… quite the contrary! Often times, you will never know what you like/dislike until you actually at least give it a try. That goes toward most aspects of life. Didn’t think ceviche would end up with a life lesson, eh? That being said… follow your dreams and eat ceviche… cooked or “cooked.” And top it off with a touch of edible gold, regardless of preparation. 

I love y’all!! ♥

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