spring cooking

Classic Ceviche The Perfect Party Appetizer!

Bon Appétit!

Classic Ceviche The Perfect Party Appetizer!

By Steve Walker-Duncan, M.Ed.,
CCC Department Chair,
Culinary Arts Camosun College
By Steve Walker-Duncan, M.Ed., CCC Department Chair, Culinary Arts Camosun College

Ceviche is essentially a seafood cocktail using fresh fish that is marinated or “cooked” in a large amount of lime juice. It’s one of those dishes that seems to make folks nervous due to the omission of heat to ‘cook’ the raw seafood ingredients.

What is really happening is that the acetic acid in the lime kills bacteria and coagulates proteins that actually cook the product. This is a method has been utilized for centuries in South America to render potentially hazardous seafood safe as well as to create delicious dishes.

The origin of ceviche is debated but thought to have its roots in Peru. Originally the dish was created with passionfruit or tumbo juice or marinades made from chicha (fermented corn or fruit drink). The ceviche we know today evolved as Spanish explorers brought citrus plants such as oranges, limes and lemons to the new world. These highly-acidic fruits provided the ideal liquid to cook the local seafood and, at the same time, create a mouth-watering sauce to serve with the dish.

As time went on, cooks played with a wide variety of additional flavours with ingredients such as tomatoes cilantro, chillies, onions, fresh diced cucumber, diced avocado, and even sweet potato. The beauty of ceviche is that it works so very well with almost any type of thinly sliced seafood.

For those of us living here on Vancouver Island, there is no shortage of assorted seafood to choose from. My students in Camosun’s Culinary Arts program have many opportunities to learn less-common cooking methods such as these in their journey to become competent professional cooks.

In this recipe, the acidic ‘liquor’ from the cooking process makes a wonderful dressing for the cabbage and vegetable slaw and lifts the richness of the avocado. Other seafood such as halibut, salmon or oysters make great alternatives for the prawns.

For food safety, purchase your fish selection from a trusted source and enjoy the ceviche the first day it is made.

Find all of Steven’s contact info on the Camosun Culinary Arts portal listing page here on GoWestShore.

spring cooking

Prawn Ceviche with Savoy Slaw and Avocado


  • 500 g 1 lb Prawns, deveined and sliced in half, lengthways
  • 10 ml 2 tsp Salt Marinade
  • 150 ml 1 cup Lime juice, fresh
  • 2 medium Tomato, peeled, deseeded, diced
  • 1/2 small Red onion, very finely sliced
  • 1 small Jalapeno, chopped very fine
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 30 ml 2 tbsp Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 15 ml 1 tbsp Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Salt and groud black pepper, to taste


  • 300 g 1/2 lb Savoy cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 medium Carrot, shredded
  • 3 Green onions, sliced thinly at 45º
  • 50 g 2 oz Radicchio, finely sliced
  • 2 Avocados, peeled and cut into cubes
  • To Serve and Garnish
  • Vancouver Island Sea Salt, coarse
  • Aioli (garlic mayonnaise)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Toss prawns with salt and let rest for 15 minutes. Rinse quickly with cold water, pat dry.
  2. Combine prawns with all of the ingredients—except the slaw items.
  3. Allow to marinate at least 45 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  4. Drain the lime ‘liquor’ over slaw ingredients to dress. Then, toss together thoroughly.
  5. Remove excess liquid before serving.
  6. Place savoy slaw onto a plate and top with prawns.
  7. Finish with aioli (use squeeze bottle), fresh cilantro and coarse sea salt for added crunch.

Yield: 4-6 main course or 8-10 appetizer-sized servings

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