I love ceviche but I’ve always been a little scared to make it. I mean, come on… raw fish? There are some things you just don’t mess with. However when Deb and I went to Aruba we stayed at the Riu and they had a ceviche bar. There were 8 different kinds of fish (including octopus, scallops, and squid) to choose from and they pulled it together right there for you. It got me thinking… I can do this!
First thing first: start off with the highest grade of fish you can get your hands on. This is a challenge for those of us here in the rural Midwest, but it’s not impossible. It’s worth the quest.
Second: ceviche is raw. Lemon and lime juice changes the textured and consistency of the fish, but it does not “cook” it. Cooking involves heat and heat kills bacteria. Therefore, starting off with high quality fish is crucial.
Tip: fish should NEVER smell fishy.
If the citric acid in the lemon and lime juice aren’t cooking the fish, how do you know it’s done? America’s Test Kitchen suggested that it’s done when the fish is opaque. Cook’s Illustrated recommends 2-3 hours.
Making ceviche yourself is a wonderful way to bring the islands into your home even if you have to exercise a bit of caution. Which is what we were warned to do while visiting Aruba’s National Park!
I’m a little embarrassed to say, but my Caribbean geography was somewhat lacking before this trip. I used to have a vague notion that all the Bahamas and Caribbean islands were some where right off the coast of Florida. I sooooo ashamed!!! Obviously, that is not the case. The week before we left, I decided to look on the map and find out just how close Aruba was to Florida. Holy Crap!!! It’s 60 miles off the coast of Venezuela… SOUTH America!
After the visions of drug cartels and kidnappings subsided, I started breathing again when I remembered we were staying at an all inclusive resort. In my mind, inclusive resorts = safety + security + luxury + umbrella drinks. Ok, cool. I also Googled safest areas to visit. Aruba was in the top 3. Apparently, Arubans cherish tourism and therefore have made safety their #1 priority.
The entire time we there, I felt incredibly safe even though you’re not locked in like you are in Cancun. The streets are well lit; families and couples walk the beach after dark, as well as, in the northern shopping area near the “I Love Aruba” sign. There are sidewalk cafes and restaurants, great shopping, loads of bars, and the streets are clean. So charming!
During our girls’ trip, we met up with our friends Rosalie and Frank. They rented a jeep and invited us to join them for a 4 wheeling adventure! Aruba is only 18 miles long and 6 miles wide and we saw most of it for the next 7 hours!
If I were Guy Fieri I would totally highlight the Happy Stop (below). If you circle the east coastline of the island like we did, make sure you eat here. It’s the only food you’ll see for hours.
When you go to Aruba, make a wish or say a prayer and stack stones. It’s what you do. People have been doing it forever. You can see 1000’s of visual representations of prayers all over the east side of the island. It’s very cool.
On the southern tip of Aruba is its national park. The road disappears and the true 4 wheeling begins. Frank did a great job driving and Rosalie was a wonderful navigator. Deb and I bounce around like a couple of ping pong balls and held on for dear life laughing the whole time!
Signs reading “Beware,” “Enter at your own risk,” “don’t eat the trees!” were posted on every wall of the visitors’ center.
I asked the ranger what was so dangerous. I was told that there is a tree in the part you should not eat. Apparently you shouldn’t stand under it either if it’s raining. She even showed me a picture. Good to know.
Tip: when in Aruba, don’t eat the trees. Eat the ceviche.
Aruba Rocks Ceviche
- 8 ounces sushi grade white fish tilapia, raw and cubed
- 8 ounces sushi grade darker fish tuna, raw and cubed
- 8 ounces sushi grade salmon raw and cubed
- 8 ounces raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/2 cup grapefruit peel, pith, and membranes removed
- 1 cup cucumber peeled and diced
- 1 small red onion minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 jalapeno deveined, seeded and minced
- salt and pepper
- Combine all the fish and shrimp with the lime juice in a small bowl.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until the tilapia is white and all the fish and shrimp are opaque.
- Gently fold in the remaining ingredients.
- Add salt to taste. I like about a teaspoon.
- Mix again gently and serve with tortillas & chips or as a salad in a chilled glass over baby greens.
Raw fish should smell clean and fresh. If your fish ever smell fishy, do not use it.
Check the video out on YouTube: https://youtu.be/GvmUHt2xHUc
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