Why Ceviche Is The Ultimate Dish To Make At All Your Outdoor Summer Gatherings

When summer rolls around, light seafood is an ideal way to pack protein into a meal. And when the sun is shining and temperatures are sweltering, classic ceviche is the perfect cool and refreshing dish for chowing down at outdoor gatherings. In addition to the fact that its chunks of raw fish and sour citrus juices make for a delicious pairing, you can leave ceviche out for longer than other uncooked seafood dishes, making it the ultimate summer snack. You can even prep your ingredients in advance and bring them with you to make on site at the beach or a barbecue.

It's understandable if the thought of a raw fish concoction baking in the sun makes you a little squeamish, but ceviche boasts one quality that others don't. While we generally don't want to leave uncooked seafood out for too long for safety reasons, in this case, you can think of the citrus soak as a milder method of cooking the fish — so it doesn't stay fully raw for long. The liquids gently break down the seafood's proteins, similar to how heat would. Plus, the citrus juice in ceviche actually helps it stay fresh for longer. The acids in the juice can kill some of the pathogens that cause food poisoning and prevent them from multiplying as quickly, so you can have more peace of mind regarding the safety of your snack.

Tips to keep in mind when snacking on ceviche this summer

There are a few ways to make sure your ceviche stays as fresh as possible. First, stay away from fattier fish like salmon. We want the citrus to permeate proteins in the fish as much as possible, but these juices aren't potent enough to get through all that fat. Instead, go for leaner, sushi-grade options like tuna or shrimp. That said, make your dish the day you plan to eat it, since over-marinating your seafood is a common mistake that can "cook" it for too long, leading to a rubbery texture. And before you even get started, freeze (and then thaw) your fish to kill as many parasites as possible.

When serving ceviche at a backyard gathering, place your bowl with the fish in a bigger bowl that contains ice. If you want to feel a little fancy, you can purchase a serving dish specifically meant for holding ice beneath your food — even one with a lid for easy transporting and the coolest temperatures possible. If you're carting your ingredients to the beach or pool, however, keep everything in a cooler with ice until you're ready to eat. Ceviche will stay safe to eat longer in the sun than uncured raw fish, but still try to consume it within two hours for optimal texture.