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Fresh and Bright

Ceviche is a traditional Peruvian fish dish that combines sweet, sour and spice.

Ceviche is a traditional Peruvian fish dish that combines sweet, sour and spice.

Ceviche is a very refreshing and popular Peruvian dish. The traditional ingredients are raw fish, lime, onions, cilantro and yellow chilies—although many chefs interpret the dish in new and modern ways. This recipe is for the traditional ceviche.

The traditional fish is a sea bass, but any fish with white meat, such as halibut, Mahi Mahi, hake or grouper, will do. Fresh fish is best—frozen fish is not recommended. Ceviche is usually garnished with steamed and/or toasted white corn, which may not be available in Mississippi all the time, or may only be available at specialty stores. Other traditional garnishes are easier to find, such as sweet potatoes and green plantains. Yuca is also used as a garnish and is usually available in stores that cater to Latino and Hispanic customers. Enjoy this South American dish from the comfort of your home—it's a perfectly light, fresh meal for the warming weather.

Ceviche

Main ingredients:

2 pounds fresh fish

20 limes

1 large purple onion or 2 small ones

1 habanero chili (known as aji limo to Peruvians)

1 teaspoon salt

A pinch of pepper (preferably white)

Cilantro leaves (if desired)

Optional additional ingredients:

Two steamed or boiled corns

Toasted corn

Sweet potato chips

Fried plantain chips

Fried or boiled manioc (yuca)

Lettuce leaves

Slice the red onions, julienne style, then rinse to remove bitterness. Juice the limes over a bowl or container—to keep the lime juice from becoming too acid, it's best to juice them by hand.

Cube the fish as uniformly as possible, close to two centimeters by two centimeters. Cut the habanero into the smallest possible pieces. Remove the stem and seeds—you may want to use gloves to avoid the heat. Make sure not to let the seeds come in contact with your skin, and don't touch your eyes until after you've washed your hands thoroughly.

Put the fish, salt, pepper and chili into a bowl. If you decide to use cilantro leaves, add them now. Add the lemon juice and red onion.

Once all ingredients are together, gently mix them all using a spoon. Taste everything as you're mixing in case you want to adjust the taste.

Let the ceviche rest for a few minutes so that the lime "cooks" the fish. Five to 10 minutes is adequate. Once rested, you can garnish your ceviche with the toasted corn, boiled corn, sweet potato or plantain chips, to your taste.

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