It's a white firm flesh fish similar to Sea Bass
Orangemouth Corvina: Caught at the Salton Sea, California.
Note pigmentation of mouth and fins, and pointed tail.
The only other Corvina family fish with a similar tail is the endangered totoaba. Description and photo courtesy Zack Thomas.
|Corvina is a general name for a boatload (pardon
the expression) of fish found in many different parts of the world. They belong
to the scaienidae family, which is better known as "drums or croakers."
Drum fish and croaker fish are differentiated by whether they produce a drumming
sound or a croaking sound when they pop their heads above the water (we're not
making this up). There are 270 species within the drums and croakers family,
ranging from less than a quarter of a pound to hundreds of pounds. In Central
America alone, there are dozens of varieties
Shortfin Corvina, Cynoscion parvipinnis: Photo courtesy Dean Mitchell.
Although drums and croakers are primarily saltwater fish, and therefore theoretically fine for use in ceviche, James Peterson, author of Fish & Shellfish (Canada, UK), cautions against eating them raw. They often contain parasites, he says, which is the general reason you don't make ceviche with freshwater fish. Cooking renders the parasites harmless, as does freezing for at least 24 hours at 0°F, but the acid of ceviche does not.
Finding parasite-free, impeccably fresh fish is the great challenge of making ceviche these days. Peterson says he used to tell people to rush home with their fish and make ceviche at once, but now says unless the fish was previously frozen or you have some sure-fire way of determining that it is free of parasites, freeze it yourself for at least 24 hours, slowly thaw it in the refrigerator, and then start cutting limes.
In this country, drums and croakers on the market include Atlantic Croaker, Black Drum, Red Drum, Kingfish, Spot, Spotted or Speckled Sea Trout, Weakfish, White Sea Bass, Orangemouth Corvina, Yellowfin Corvina, Golden Corvina, Shortfin Corvina, etc., etc. (Drums and croakers are totally unrelated to either bass or trout, so there is simply no truth in advertising in the fish world.) More of these varieties come from the Pacific, and are more available on the West Coast.
Whether any of these species will make a ceviche that matches your childhood memory, the intermediary freezing/thawing step (which is outright heresy to many ceviche lovers) will probably affect the texture in unexpected ways. But perhaps this is what constitutes the ceviche of the new millennium.
• Known in Peru as Ceviche, this dish is a national favorite, making use of the country's incredible variety of super fresh fish and shellfish. Ceviche dates back to the Incas, who seasoned their fish with sea salt and aji (chile peppers) and cured it in the acidic juice of tumbo, a tart tropical fruit. The Spanish later introduced citrus fruits, and lime juice became the acid of choice. To approximate the taste of pre-Hispanic ceviche, reduce the lime juice in this recipe to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup passion fruit pulp, scraped from halved, fresh ripe passion fruits with soft, crinkly skins. • Look for fresh aji amarillo chile peppers in stores that carry Peruvian ingredients. If you can't find them, use aji amarillo paste, available @ any Peruvian market or section of your supermarket.
Corvina with Garlic Butter
Fish Salad Cooked in Lime Juice
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