Ceviche is an easy way to prepare fresh fish, and it doesn’t have to be intimidating. It’s also surprisingly kid-friendly! While not every kid is enthusiastic about eating fish or seafood in general, ceviche can actually be a clever way to get them to try it — especially if you serve it on chips.
Who doesn’t like to try new foods on chips?
Besides, ceviche provides a hands-on science lesson! For PBS Adventures in Learning, dad blogger Jeff Bogle explains how how the acid in lemon or lime juice rearranges the proteins in fish making it safe to eat.
That said, ceviche, its still considered raw seafood, so you should take the same precautions you’d take with sushi. Recommendations vary, and in cultures where raw fish dishes are common, kids may eat it earlier. Here, the FDA basically recommends getting past the toddler stage before introducing raw fish and that pregnant women avoid it.
With that, here are some fantastic recipes to get you started on kid-friendly ceviche.
Making kid-friendly ceviche: A few basics to start.
How to choose fresh, safe fish for ceviche
When it comes to ceviche, quality counts, just as with sushi or poke. The higher quality your fish, the safer it is, so make sure you know what you’re getting. Sushi-grade fish is a good bet, as is fresh, local fish. Fresh fish should have firm flesh. If you poke it and the indentation remains, it probably isn’t as fresh as it should be.
If you’re buying whole fish, look at the eyes, which should be clear, bright, and moist.
You can also make ceviche from fish that’s been frozen, but make sure to follow the FDA’s rules for thawing fish and seafood safely.
How to cut fish for ceviche
Whether you prefer bigger or smaller pieces, cut your fish in uniform pieces so it “cooks” evenly. If your family prefers rare tuna or salmon, you can cut larger pieces and the inside will stay red, like a steak.
As with all foods, the smaller the pieces, the quicker your ceviche will cook.
How to marinate ceviche
How long you marinate your fish in citrus juice depends on how rare you like it. Thirty minutes is a minimum, but once you get past an hour and a half, your fish may start to degrade.
I marinate my ceviche in a plastic zippered bag because that way the fish is totally submerged in juice.
A recipe for quick and easy ceviche
This ceviche recipe is a favorite of mine and happens to be as basic as it gets, so I make it often. In fact it’s so easy, that if you can’t convince your kids to embrace ceviche, you can whip up a small serving for adults-only in minutes.
1 pound grouper or any other fish you love
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Juice from four lemons
1 hot pepper, chopped (optional)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Splash of tequila or grapefruit vodka (optional, for adults only)
1. Cut the grouper into small pieces, about 3/4″ cubes.
2. Put all ingredients in a zippered bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, then seal the bag. I suggest you double bag your fish and/or place the bag in a bowl before refrigerating, because leaks happen.
3. Let the fish marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and check for doneness by taking a piece out and cutting it to see if fish is white all the way through. Continue marinating for up to two hours.
Optional: Add a splash of tequila, grapefruit vodka, white wine or other alcohol you like to the citrus marinade if this is an adult-only meal.
4. Serve as salad over lettuce, or with chips for dipping.
If you have any ceviche left over, drain all the liquid and store in the fridge. It won’t be as quite as delicious the next day, but it will be fine to eat. I’ve also tossed leftover ceviche into quesadillas and omelets.
A few ceviche recipe alternatives to try with kids
–Shrimp ceviche via Parents.com. We’d probably skip the habañero for kids who don’t do spicy, but this is a great way to get kids who already enjoy shrimp to try ceviche.
–Peruvian-style tilapia ceviche via The Slow Cook. It’s a recipe so easy, the kids can even help make it.
–Snapper ceviche with mango and pineapple from Martha Stewart will be a sure hit with kids (and adults!) who love tropical flavors.
Photos © Anne Wolfe Postic for Cool Mom Eats