This Snapper Ceviche Recipe is made with snapper, cooked with lime, and topped with cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, onion and serrano peppers.
If you're looking for a light and tangy appetizer that showcases the delicate flavors of fresh fish, you've come to the right place. Snapper ceviche is a classic Latin American dish that combines the natural sweetness of snapper with the bright acidity of lime juice, along with a medley of vegetables and herbs. It's a perfect choice for warm weather gatherings, as it's not only delicious but also incredibly refreshing.
We'll start with the star of the dish: fresh snapper. It's essential to use very fresh fish to ensure the best taste and texture. We'll marinate the snapper in a generous amount of freshly squeezed lime juice, allowing the citrus to "cook" the fish and infuse it with a delightful tanginess.
What is Snapper Ceviche?
Snapper ceviche is a delightful and refreshing dish that originates from Latin America, particularly the coastal regions. It is a type of ceviche that showcases the delicate flavors of snapper fish, which is marinated in citrus juices, typically lime or lemon, to "cook" the fish through a process called denaturation. The snapper is then combined with a variety of fresh ingredients such as diced vegetables, herbs, and spices to create a flavorful and vibrant dish.
The preparation of snapper ceviche involves slicing the snapper into small pieces and marinating it in the citrus juice. The acid in the juice breaks down the proteins in the fish, giving it a firm texture and a tangy flavor. The fish is typically left to marinate for a short period, allowing the flavors to meld together and enhance the overall taste.
Why is Snapper Ceviche so great?
- Fresh and Light: Snapper ceviche is a refreshing and light dish that is perfect for hot summer days or when you're craving something vibrant and flavorful. The combination of fresh snapper, citrus juices, and crisp vegetables creates a refreshing and satisfying dish that doesn't weigh you down.
- Burst of Flavor: Snapper ceviche is known for its explosion of flavors. The tanginess of the citrus juices, the natural sweetness of the snapper, and the combination of herbs and vegetables create a harmonious blend of tastes. Each bite offers a delightful balance of acidity, sweetness, and savory notes that awaken your taste buds.
- Healthy and Nutritious: Snapper ceviche is a healthy choice as it is low in fat and calories. It is packed with lean protein from the snapper fish and an abundance of vitamins and minerals from the fresh vegetables and citrus juices. It's a dish that not only satisfies your taste buds but also provides nourishment.
- Versatile and Customizable: Snapper ceviche is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit individual preferences. You can adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or fewer chili peppers, and you can experiment with different herbs, vegetables, and seasonings to create unique flavor profiles. It can be served as an appetizer, a light main course, or even as a topping for other dishes.
Snapper Ceviche Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Red onion
See recipe card for Snapper Ceviche Recipe quantities.
How to make Snapper Ceviche
Place the snapper pieces in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Squeeze the juice from the limes over the snapper, making sure all the pieces are submerged. The acidity of the lime juice will "cook" the fish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the fish turns opaque and firm.
In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. In a separate bowl, combine the diced cucumber, tomato, chopped cilantro, finely chopped red onion, and sliced serrano pepper. Mix well. After the fish has marinated, remove it from the lime juice and gently pat it dry with a paper towel.
Add the marinated fish to the bowl of prepared vegetables. Toss gently to combine. Season the ceviche with salt to taste. Be cautious with the salt as the fish may have absorbed some saltiness from the lime juice.
Allow the flavors to meld together by refrigerating the ceviche for an additional 15-30 minutes. Serve the Snapper Ceviche chilled with tortilla chips for scooping.
What to serve with Snapper Ceviche
- Tortilla Chips or Tostadas: Serve a basket of crispy tortilla chips or toasted tostadas alongside the snapper ceviche. These provide a satisfying crunch and are perfect for scooping up the ceviche.
- Plantain Chips: For a unique twist, consider serving plantain chips alongside the snapper ceviche. The slightly sweet and savory flavor of the plantains adds a delightful contrast to the tangy ceviche. You could even make Tostones for this ceviche.
- Freshly Sliced Avocado: Offer slices of ripe avocado as an additional topping for the snapper ceviche. The creamy texture and mild flavor of avocado complement the tanginess of the ceviche.
- Sliced Jalapeños or Hot Sauce: If you enjoy a bit of heat, offer sliced jalapeños or your favorite hot sauce on the side. Guests can add a touch of spiciness to their individual servings of snapper ceviche.
- Cilantro Rice or Quinoa: For a heartier meal, serve snapper ceviche alongside cilantro rice or quinoa. The mild flavors of the rice or quinoa complement the bold flavors of the ceviche.
- Snapper: If you cannot find snapper, you can use other firm and mild white fish such as sea bass, halibut, or grouper. Alternatively, you can use cooked and peeled shrimp or diced tofu as vegetarian options.
- Limes: If you don't have limes, you can use lemons as a substitute. The citrus juice provides the necessary acidity to "cook" the fish or seafood.
- Cucumber: If you don't have cucumber, you can substitute it with jicama or green bell pepper. These vegetables offer a similar refreshing and crunchy texture.
- Tomato: If you prefer to omit tomatoes or don't have them on hand, you can use diced mango or pineapple for a tropical twist. These fruits add a hint of sweetness to balance the flavors.
- Cilantro: If you're not a fan of cilantro or don't have it available, you can use parsley or mint instead. Both herbs provide a fresh and aromatic element to the ceviche.
- Red Onion: If you want a milder onion flavor, you can substitute red onion with shallots or thinly sliced scallions (green onions). These options offer a similar mild onion taste without being overpowering.
- Serrano: If you prefer a milder heat or cannot find serrano peppers, you can use jalapeño peppers instead. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of spiciness. Alternatively, you can omit the pepper altogether if you prefer a mild version.
Snapper Ceviche Recipe Variations
- Tropical Twist: Add diced mango, pineapple, or papaya to the ceviche for a burst of tropical flavors. The sweetness of these fruits pairs beautifully with the tangy citrus and savory fish.
- Coconut Ceviche: Substitute a portion of the lime juice with coconut milk to create a creamy and slightly sweet variation. The coconut flavor adds a unique twist to the traditional ceviche.
- Avocado Ceviche: Dice ripe avocado and add it to the ceviche for a creamy and buttery texture. The avocado complements the flavors of the fish and adds richness to the dish.
- Cutting Board: A sturdy cutting board will provide a stable surface for preparing and chopping the ingredients.
- Chef's Knife: A sharp chef's knife is essential for cutting and dicing the snapper, vegetables, and herbs.
- Mixing Bowl: A large mixing bowl will be used to combine all the ingredients and marinate the snapper.
- Citrus Juicer: A citrus juicer or reamer will help you extract the juice from the limes efficiently.
- Measuring Spoons: Precise measurements of ingredients like salt and herbs may be required, so having a set of measuring spoons is useful.
- Plastic Wrap or Cling Film: This will be used to cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate the ceviche during the marinating process.
- Refrigerator: A refrigerator is necessary for chilling and marinating the ceviche to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Fish Fillet Knife: If you're starting with a whole snapper, a fish fillet knife can help you carefully remove the skin and bones before dicing the fish.
- Strainer: If you prefer to strain the citrus juice to remove any pulp or seeds, a fine-mesh strainer can be useful.
- Tongs or a Slotted Spoon: These can be handy for gently transferring the marinated snapper and other ingredients from the bowl to the serving dish.
How to store Snapper Ceviche
- Refrigerate Immediately: After preparing the snapper ceviche, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. Place it in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Ceviche is a raw seafood dish, and refrigeration is necessary to prevent bacterial growth.
- Consume Within 24 Hours: Snapper ceviche is best enjoyed when freshly made. It is recommended to consume it within 24 hours of preparation to ensure optimal taste and texture. The longer it sits, the fish will continue to "cook" in the acidic marinade, potentially altering the texture.
- Keep Chilled: Maintain the snapper ceviche at a consistent cold temperature while storing. Avoid leaving it at room temperature for an extended period, as this can promote bacterial growth and compromise food safety.
- Stir Before Serving: Before serving leftover snapper ceviche, give it a gentle stir to redistribute the flavors and ensure even distribution of the marinade.
- Note: If you notice any off odors, changes in texture, or signs of spoilage, discard the ceviche immediately to avoid foodborne illnesses.
Snapper Ceviche Recipe Top tips
- Freshness is Key: Choose the freshest snapper possible for the best results. Look for firm, odorless, and bright-eyed fish. Freshness is crucial as the fish will "cook" in the acidic marinade without heat.
- Quality Citrus: Use freshly squeezed lime juice for the marinade. The acidity of the citrus juice is what "cooks" the fish, so make sure to use ripe and juicy limes for maximum flavor.
- Proper Marinating Time: Allow enough time for the snapper to marinate and "cook" in the lime juice. Typically, marinating for around 30 minutes to an hour is sufficient to achieve a good balance of flavor and texture. Avoid over-marinating, as it can make the fish overly firm and affect its delicate texture.
- Small, Evenly Diced Pieces: Cut the snapper into small, uniform pieces to ensure even marinating and consistent texture. Smaller pieces of fish will "cook" faster and absorb the flavors of the marinade more effectively.
- Chilling the Ingredients: For the best results, chill the snapper in the refrigerator for a short time before marinating. This helps to keep the fish firm and enhances the overall texture of the ceviche.
- Balancing Flavors: Adjust the ingredients to your taste preferences. Taste the marinade before adding the fish to ensure it has a good balance of acidity, saltiness, and spiciness. You can adjust the amounts of lime juice, salt, and serrano pepper to achieve your desired flavor profile.
- Add Vegetables and Herbs Last: Add the diced vegetables, such as cucumber, tomato, red onion, and cilantro, to the ceviche just before serving. This helps to maintain their crispness and vibrant colors.
- Garnish and Serve: Consider garnishing the snapper ceviche with additional cilantro leaves, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for added flavor and presentation.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove