My Peruvian Family Makes Homemade Ceviche All the Time—Here's What You'll Find in Our Kitchen
My grandfather emigrated from Peru to the United States at just 24 years old. The life he created for himself in New Jersey would include five children who he would pass on not only his epic tales as an immigrant in America but also the cultural traditions of his homeland. These shared traditions included recipes for Peru's national dish, ceviche. Those recipes have since been passed down to me, and while I still think my grandfather's version tastes the best, I have learned to make authentic and delicious ceviche myself. If you're wondering which kitchen tools are key to make ceviche properly, I've rounded up everything in my kitchen I need when it's time to make the dish.
A Fillet Knife
The defining element of ceviche is citrus-marinated fish. While my grandfather usually opts to use sea bass or mahi mahi, any lean white fish works. But regardless of which fish you choose for ceviche, you're going to want a good knife that allows you to properly debone the fish. Our two go-to fillet knives are the Shun Classic Gokujo Fillet Knife and the Wüsthof Classic Fish Fillet Knife. While both are easy to maneuver and maintain a comfortable grip, I prefer the Shun Classic knife's wide blade and round handle, while my mother prefers the Wüsthof knife's flattened handle and narrow blade. Both get the job done with impressive precision and smoothness, and even after years of use neither has shown any signs of rusting.
A Lime Juicer
Once the fish is cut and diced, it's time to marinate it in lime juice. My grandpa has always advocated for squeezing fresh limes rather than buying bottled lime juice, so we keep two citrus juicers in our home—one manual and one electric. For making a small serving of ceviche for just ourselves, we use the manual Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer. When prepping a larger serving for dinner guests, we love to spare ourselves the elbow grease and use the Smeg Citrus Juicer. It's a pricey option for citrus juicing, but we use it so often and it effortlessly produces plenty of juice for our cooking needs, so we've found it well worth the splurge.
A Non-Reactive Bowl
When combining the fish and lime juice, the acidity of the citrus can react with certain types of bowls and saturate your fish with a metallic taste. To avoid this, you'll want to use a non-reactive bowl — that means one made from stainless steel, glass, or ceramic. We've used Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls for years now, and they've become durable staples in our kitchen. We recently ordered these ceramic bowls from Target since we thought they would have great presentation value when we host dinners. They lived up to our aesthetic expectations, were easy to mix in, and didn't leave our ceviche with a weird flavor.
A Pepper Mill
Black pepper is another important ingredient for ceviche, and we always opt for grinding whole peppercorns in lieu of pre-ground pepper for a fresher taste with more depth. We use McCormick Whole-Black Pepper and grind it using the Peugeot Paris U Select Pepper Mill. The pepper mill has six different grind settings, ranging from ultra-fine to coarse and, after hundreds of uses, we still find that it provides an even grind at each setting with all types of peppercorns.
My grandfather says whenever he eats a good bowl of ceviche, he can close his eyes and feel like he's eating on a beach in Peru. The right tools have made all the difference in my family's ceviche-making process, and they can help you achieve the same authentic, transportive taste, too.