This light and refreshing Grapefruit Flounder Ceviche is a cold seafood salad that’s perfect for hot summer days!
Is it hot outside where you live? Where I live in Central Appalachia, it’s not just hot– it’s muggy, sticky, and the air is thick– as if the rain started to fall, but got stuck mid-air. As soon as I walk outside, I hear cicadas clicking, crickets chirping, and air conditioners struggling to keep up with the dense summer heat.
To me, this weather screams ‘ice cream!’ and most definitely does not scream– “turn on your oven!” We cannot live on ice cream alone, however, and dinnertime rolls around every single day. This easy, cold Grapefruit Flounder Ceviche is here to save you from your summertime dinner dilemma! This light and refreshing seafood salad is quick and doesn’t need an oven!
What is Ceviche?
Have you heard of ceviche? Ceviche is a cold seafood dish that isn’t exactly raw, but it’s not cooked either. (Warning: I’m about to ‘talk science.’) To make ceviche, you soak small pieces of fish in an acid– such as lime, lemon, or grapefruit juice– until the texture of the fish changes. This process is called denaturation— the ‘nature,’ or chemical makeup of the fish, changes. The denaturation process happens when you cook with heat too– the fish changes texture with heat exposure from raw to cooked, from tough and translucent to flaky and opaque. With ceviche, it’s the acid, not the heat, that causes the fish to transform.
Traditionally, ceviche is made with the freshest fish possible– straight off the boat, and then sliced, diced, and marinated in an acid. For me, this is a problem, however, for two reasons. Reason number one– I’m totally landlocked. There’s no way I can get fresh fish straight from the ocean docks. Problem two is safety. Since the acid doesn’t actually heat up or cook the fish, the safest fish to use is fish that’s been commercially flash frozen to kill any contaminants that could make you sick.*
Buying Quality Flounder
One of the beautiful things about ceviche is that it lets the flavor of the fish shine through. That means that it’s even MORE important to buy a high-quality fish. Instead of grabbing the first bag of frozen flounder you see, read labels! Check to see that if the label tells you where the flounder is from and how it was caught.
I’ve been buying frozen flounder from my favorite seafood source– Orca Bay. Orca Bay’s flounder is GMO-free, wild caught, and from Alaska– which I love, because Alaska flounder is on the Seafood Watch’s ‘best choice’ list. Plus– it’s delicious!
Order Orca Bay Online: Use my Ambassador Code: champagnetastes for 15% off!
Find Orca Bay locally: Use their store finder, or try these vendors: Costco, Ingles, Giant Eagle, Market of Choice, Whole Foods (Northwest Region), HyVee, Dierberg’s, Woodman’s, Acme Fresh, Hen House, Price Cutter, Harp’s, Price Chopper- Kansas City. (Note: if you don’t have one of these stores in your local area, but do have a health food store, check there! That’s where I find my Orca Bay fish.)
Making Grapefruit Flounder Ceviche
To make this tasty and light Grapefruit Flounder Ceviche, start by cutting your (now thawed) fish into small, bite-size pieces. Raw fish is harder to cut than cooked fish, so use the sharpest knife you have. A fillet knife is ideal, but not necessary. You can also keep your knife blade wet while cutting to help you slice through the flounder.
Soak your fish in grapefruit juice** for 10-20 minutes at room temperature. As the acid ‘denatures’ the fish, it will change texture and appear to be cooking. How long you leave your fish in the juice is a personal preference– taste a piece at 10 minutes, and see if you want it more ‘cooked.’ I let my fish soak for about 15 minutes. Keep in mind that if you leave your fish in the acid considerably longer, it can start to taste tough and ‘overcooked,’ and will eventually fall apart. You can also let your ceviche marinate overnight in the fridge, but I think it’s harder to get the timing right that way.
Once your flounder is ready, drain off the juice. Add diced onion, tomatoes, and avocado, and serve it with the yogurt and honey sauce. Serve your ceviche on its own, in a lettuce wrap, or with crackers. Enjoy your ceviche, and stay cool on these hot summer days!
Tips: How to Make Ceviche
- Ideally, use seafood that has been commercially frozen to avoid contaminants.
- Use the sharpest knife you own. (Ideally, use a fillet knife.)
- Use an acidic liquid (such as lemon, lime, or grapefruit juice) to “denature” (change the texture) of the fish.
- Soak fish in the acidic juice for 10-20 minutes, and then taste to see if it’s the texture you want. Avoid leaving the fish in the juice for long periods of time– the fish may taste “overcooked” or tough.
A Note on Seafood Safety and Raw / Undercooked Fish: The safest way to consume raw fish is to make sure that it’s been flash frozen to kill anything that could later make you sick. If you’re worried that frozen fish won’t be as tasty, keep in mind that even high-end sushi restaurants use frozen seafood. Also Note: I’m not a doctor, and I’m not giving medical advice here. If your doctor says you shouldn’t eat raw fish because you’re at a higher risk for getting sick (i.e.– if you’re pregnant or have a different medical condition that makes it unsafe), talk to them, not me, before chowing down on this lovely flounder.
**A Note on Grapefruit: Grapefruit may interfere with some medications. If you can’t eat grapefruit, you can use freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice instead.
Grapefruit Flounder Ceviche
Light, No Cook Summer Seafood Meal or Appetizer
Grapefruit Flounder Ceviche:
- 2 flounder fillets (~3-4 oz each) (recommendation- Orca Bay flounder)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 grapefruit, juiced (~1/2 cup juice), plus 1 tsp grapefruit juice
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/2 avocado, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsp honey
To Serve (Optional):
- large lettuce leaves (for lettuce wraps), crackers
Dice flounder into small, even, bite-size pieces with a sharp knife. Place flounder in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and cover with grapefruit juice (reserving 1 tsp juice for the yogurt sauce).
Let the flounder marinate in the grapefruit juice for 10-15 minutes at room temperature, or until the fish has become opaque white and tears easily.
Drain the grapefruit juice from the fish, and add the tomatoes, onion, and avocado. Stir all the ingredients together.
Mix yogurt, salt, honey, and the remaining 1 tsp of grapefruit juice together.
Serve sauce mixed in with ceviche, on the side, or drizzled on top. Serve ceviche on its own, in lettuce wraps, or with crackers. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.