When I was in Costa Rica last month I noticed that some of the nicer restaurants were using Tilapia as their fish protien when they made their ceviche. Ceviche is a dish typical to many Latin American countries with some slight variations on how it is prepared. In some countries like Mexico, Ceviche is often prepared and served with a tomato base, in other Caribbean countries, and Costa Rica, it is served with vegetables, minus the tomato base. The main similarity is how the fish is prepared. Instead of cooking it on a fire, you let it sit in lime juice and the acid from the juice cooks the fish. This is not to be mistaken for sushi, where the fish is served raw, in ceviche the fish is actually cooked in the lime juice as it changes texture and color when it is done. With all of the fresh sea food in Costa Rica I was a little shocked that they used Tilapia until I found out why. They used the Tilapia becasue of the light meat and texture that is so common with Tilapia fillets, also becasue of its ability to absorb flavor. So needless to say, the other day I gave it the ol’ college try and made some Tilapia ceviche for our friends to munch on while we watched the Rose bowl game at one of our neighbors homes. I grabbed the recipe off of the internet then added my own special touches to make it unique. With the exception of the lime wedges, avocado, chips and cucumber everything else we grew in our garden. I was really blown away on how good it tasted and so were a few others.
1 1/2 pounds tilapia, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (about 14 limes), plus wedges for serving
2 tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 avocados, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Small tostadas, for serving (optional)
Combine fish and lime juice in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for about 8 minutes; drain, pressing into strainer to remove excess liquid. Return fish mixture to bowl. Stir in onion, tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Serve immediately with tostadas and lime wedges.