Fresh-tasting and fast to prepare, ceviche is the perfect menu item when diners crave a cool, light meal. Protein-rich seafood and veggie-centric toppings give the dish a significant health halo, too.
Tips from a ceviche master
“We do a great station that we call ‘Ceviche Color & Crunch,’ and it’s very popular,” says Robin Selden, Managing Partner and Executive Chef at Marcia Selden Catering & Events.
Selden’s station starts with top-quality protein, including red snapper, tuna and salmon. She has been working with the same “fish guy” for nearly 40 years, and she always buys sushi-quality tuna and off-the-boat salmon. “You really need to get it as fresh as possible, so I don’t order it early, but on the day I need it, and prepare as close to service as possible.”
Top it off
Texture and sight play a big part in this dish’s appeal, Selden says. The fun of the make-it-yourself station comes with all the additional toppings and ingredients she offers. “People are looking for the unexpected, so I might add some things like seaweed salad, shallots or pickled ginger. The ‘color’ of the station is veggies, radishes, peppers, tomatoes, scallion and cilantro. The ‘crunch’ comes from sesame seeds, crispy garlic, taro chips and shaved, toasted coconut.” Wonton chips and cucumbers slices are included as “scoops.”
To accommodate vegetarians, she offers marinated tofu. And for those who are uncomfortable with eating raw fish, cooked lobster or shrimp are always on the station. Sauces include a coconut milk mixture, spicy ponzu, traditional tartar sauce or a soy sauce blend with ginger and garlic. Other sauces include aioli mixed with avocado, wasabi or sriracha. “People like the creamy factor,” she says. “Plus, we always have sriracha on the side for those who like to kick it up. I just put the real bottle on the station – that’s what people want.”
Bowl it over
With the new popularity of poke bowls, Selden can flexibly move the station to a bowl format, including chopped kale, seaweed salad and brown rice. For clients who ask for composed ceviche plates, Selden adds on-the-plate crunch with plantain or taro chips.
Use Marzetti® Champagne Vinaigrette, Cumin Lime Vinaigrette, Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Sesame Asian Ginger Dressing or Tartar Sauce to dress ceviche plates or poke bowls.
J. Kenji López-Alt’s guide to the science of ceviche for Serious Eats’ Food Lab.
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