The basic ingredients of ceviche are fresh fish or shellfish and citrus juice. Onion and cilantro are also common additions,
but variations on the theme are endless. Image source: Flickr CC user
In 2011, I went to the European Seafood Show in Brussels, and passed through Paris on my way there. The food was wonderful, and I could see why this romantic city is often called the city of love. Because of these characteristics, you might think that French food would make the best bridal shower menu. But for me, Latin America is the way to go. They have the passion, and they also have a way with seafood. Unlike the more traditional French treatment of seafood, which tends to involve heavy sauces, Latin Americans have a way of cooking their seafood simply, to let the freshness really shine.
Fresh Is Crucial
One of my favorite Latin American dishes isn’t cooked at all. It’s the Peruvian dish ceviche, which is just raw fish marinated in citrus juice. You can make it as an appetizer, salad or the main course!
When you make ceviche, the texture of the fish is changed much as in cooking since the citric acid in the lime or lemon juice breaks down the fish like heat does. There are unlimited possibilities in terms of variations on this dish, but the true beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity and the ease of making it in amounts large enough to serve a big group.
The most important ingredient in ceviche is obviously the seafood. Once you have had very fresh seafood, you will never go back to your old way of buying seafood to satisfy your fish and shellfish cravings. It is also important to remember that ceviche is not cooked with heat, so fresh is important to ensure there isn’t any bacteria in the fish.
Keeping that in mind, I would suggest cutting out the middleman to procure a fresh catch shipped to you as soon as possible after being caught. Not only can it be more cost effective (especially since you will be buying in bulk), but I assure you there is no contest in flavor or freshness.
Developing the Menu
I have hosted a few dinner parties and I would say the hardest part is to balance your time. If all of the excitement happens in the beginning, guests will start to make an exit earlier than expected. I find the best way to organize the party is to spread out the timing of your dishes. This is especially important with a menu consisting of different varieties of one type of dish. You don’t want your guests to get ceviche overload; though personally, I’m not sure that is even possible!
What is your (or the bride to be’s) favorite seafood? The beauty of ceviche is that you can make it with almost any kind of fish or shellfish. My personal favorite is scallops, but I like to think bigger than just a simple scallop ceviche for such an occasion. As we know, no two ceviche are the same. Everyone has their own twist on this popular Latin dish, right down to the way it’s served.
Appetizer: Shrimp Cocktail Ceviche
Let’s start with a twist on cocktail hour. The first seafood that comes to mind when I think of cocktail hour is shrimp. My first ever experience with ceviche was when I was on a trip to San Diego and met a few friends at a Mexican restaurant in Ocean Beach. I ordered a shrimp based ceviche for an appetizer that was so delicious that I actually ordered a second to go. I wasn’t exposed to much Latin food growing up, so I spent a good amount of time recreating that dish to share with everyone.
I couldn’t think of a better way to wow your guests than with this recipe, and it’s incredibly simple:
Since it’s cocktail hour, it would be fun to serve this ceviche appetizer in a martini glass garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and jalapeño.
Salad/Palate Cleanser: Grilled Scallop Ceviche Salad
In addition to the timing of your dishes, it’s also important to cleanse the palate to get the full enjoyment out of each dish. Today you can see palate cleansers actually being built into the dish.
This grilled scallop ceviche is the perfect recipe to not only refresh the palate but also work as the salad portion of your menu. For this recipe I prefer a nice jumbo scallop since they grill well and have a delicious, subtle flavor:
The Main Attraction: Classic Halibut Ceviche
I love to look at the main course as the grand finale of your dinner. And what better way to make a statement than with a fresh wild Alaskan halibut ceviche? Why do I choose halibut? Aside from the many health benefits, halibut has a mild taste that works great with the other flavors typically used in ceviche, and the texture stands up well to the citrus juices. I like to prepare this dish slightly differently from the others, to give this more of a “main course” feel.
I love using this idea for parties, and I think it would be perfect for a bridal shower. Not only is it unique, but, because most of the prep time needed is for marinating, it’s easy and saves time compared with dishes that require cooking. It’s also almost impossible to mess up. And you can save even more time by ordering your fresh seafood online direct from Daily Fresh Fish, saving you the hassle of going store to store, and guaranteeing you the freshest catch possible. Contact Daily Fresh Fish today, and we’ll get you the shrimp, scallops, halibut, or other seafood you need shipped straight to your door.