I always liked Ceviche. In my twenties, when my main Summer-time priority was spending ample time laying out at the Lakes until my evening restaurant shift, we would chop up avacado, cilantro, onions, peppers, fish, and drown the mixture with lime juice, to be placed on ice in a large cooler. We’d break it out in the heat of the afternoon sun, scooping it up with tortilla chips and washing it down with lemonade or beer.
Having made Ceviche many times, I considered myself an expert on the topic. But in truth, I never knew there were so many different types of Ceviche until a recent Friday night visit to El Sol Mexican Restaurant in downtown Harrisburg. I was on my way to a concert at the Whitaker Center and wanted a quick and light bite to eat, and El Sol filled the bill perfectly.
After ordering a Top Shelf Margarita, which was served in an attractive thick blue tinted glass, my attention shifted to the appetizer selection. El Sol offers three types of Ceviche, as well as a Ceviche Trio plate which combines all three.
“Baja” Ceviche is made with bay scallops cured in lime juice, red pepper, onion, chiles and cilantro.
The “Acapulco” version is made with cured shrimp, cucumber, celery, red onions and avocado.
And the “Chapala” Ceviche has tilapia cured in lime juice, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers, and avacado.
If you are extremely observant, you may notice the word “cured” in each description, instead of “cooked.” Yes, it is true that Ceviche, a dish containing raw seafood, is typically not cooked with heat.
However, for the more cautious, there are also versions of Ceviche which can be made with fully cooked seafood.
I dug into my Ceviche trio at the bar at El Sol with a tortilla chip. I enjoyed the vibrant tingling heat of the Baja Ceviche and I liked the crunch of the cucumbers of the in the Chapla and Acapulco versions. I made a note to myself to make one of these new versions at home sometime soon.
I wasn’t in my twenties, anymore, and the lazy summer afternoons of laying out for hours were long gone. But if middle age afforded me the occasional opportunity to enjoy a top notch restaurant, find interesting new twists on an old favorite, and enjoy a night of live music, I had no complaints.
North American Cooked Ceviche
Chop, mix, stir, serve.