Don’t worry if you’ve seen terms like “crudo” and “ceviche” on menus at upscale eateries and found yourself scratching your head trying to understand what they are and how they differ from one another; we’ve got you covered!
What distinguishes crudo from ceviche, then? While ceviche is a dish cooked with raw seafood that requires curing the flesh with lime or lemon juice, crudo is a phrase used to describe a variety of dishes made with either raw meat or fish.
Continue reading to learn more about crudo and ceviche, as well as how they differ from one another in terms of their materials, methods of preparation, flavors, portions, and other factors.
What Is Crudo?
Crudo is an Italian and Spanish word that means “raw.” This is a broad phrase describing a dish created with raw ingredients (most notably fish, shellfish, and meat) that have been mildly seasoned and coated with olive oil. Crudo refers to any dish made primarily of raw materials, regardless of quantity, shape, or technique of preparation.
Crudo, which is frequently served as an appetizer, can take several shapes and can be prepared with a variety of seafood or meat, as well as a number of sauces and seasonings.
The fresh fish or meat can be lightly cut, chopped, or diced before being tossed with olive oil, vinaigrette, or a delicious sauce. It can also be seasoned with lime or lemon juice, though at a lower quantity than ceviche. You can easily substitute raw fish or meat with chopped zucchini, sliced plums, or carrots!
The beauty of crudo is that the chef cooking it has unlimited creative license to create a great dish that highlights all of the unique ingredients. Pesce crudo, which translates to “fish crudo,” is a popular variety of crudo made using raw fish. It is an Italian dish that may be found in many restaurants’ appetizer menus.
It is made up of thinly sliced raw fish dusted with salt and seasoned with lemon and olive oil. It can be served with bread as a side dish. Salmon, tuna, kingfisher, and swordfish are some typical fish kinds used in this meal.
Aside from the main component, the type of oil used to pour on top of the crudo is an important factor when creating it. Many chefs use traditional olive oil, while others experiment with alternative oils such as almond or truffle oil.
Are Crudo And ‘A Crudo’ The Same?
No, these names refer to distinct concepts. Crudo refers to a dish prepared with uncooked fish, shellfish, pork, or other components. In the context of cooking, the term crudo refers to a process in which raw materials are placed in a pan and cooked without any pre-cooking or sautéing.
What Is Ceviche?
The term “ceviche” (seh-vee-chay) refers to various preparations of seafood that are “cooked” by being marinated in citrus juice. Lima, Peru is its purported birthplace, but you may find it all around the coasts of Latin America.
It is commonly prepared with a wide variety of seafood, such as shrimp, lobster, squid, snapper, conch, and octopus. Vegetables like corn and sweet potato are also common in some Latin American versions of the dish known as ceviche.
Onions, tomatoes, and cilantro are also frequently used. To heat things up, some people will even add chili peppers to the dish or serve them on the side. Instead of utilizing heat to prepare the fish, lime or lemon juice is used to cure it for a set period of time.
The uncooked fish turns from a transparent pink to an opaque white tint as it “cooks” in the acidity from the limes or lemons.
Fish cured with citrus juice takes on a more robust citrus flavor and becomes firmer in texture. Before being marinated, fish is often cubed and seasoned with a wide range of herbs and spices.
It can be served as an appetizer or light dinner at any time of the day with garnishes like onions, parsley, and cilantro, and sides like potatoes. Given that no heat is used, picturing how the ingredients for ceviche are “cooked” in citrus juice can be a bit of a stretch.
When proteins are exposed to heat or citric acid, they undergo denaturation, a chemical process that breaks the hydrogen bonds holding them together in their native state, freeing the proteins to react with the other chemicals.
Even if the seafood has been cured, it is still not safe to consume because the curing procedure does not destroy harmful bacteria like heat does. That’s why it’s important to eat ceviche made with the freshest ingredients possible.
Are Ceviche And Tiradito The Same?
Tiradito is a Peruvian dish prepared with raw fish, much to ceviche. Ceviche is prepared in cubes, whereas tiradito is prepared in slices. Additionally, ceviche is marinated earlier and left to “cook” in the citric acid, whereas tiradito is sauced just before serving.
Are Crudo And Ceviche Safe To Eat?
Because crudo and ceviche are produced with raw materials, especially fish and meat, there is always the risk of foodborne illness due to the lack of cooking. To reduce the danger, only eat raw foods from trusted sources, and if you make them at home, use the freshest, highest-quality components.
When purchasing fish, its appearance should indicate how fresh it is. To the touch, the flesh should be translucent and firm. When you poke the fish, the flesh should return to its original shape rather than creating an indentation in the meat. Inspect the eyes, which should be bright, clear, and moist. If they appear foggy, do not buy the fish as this is a bad omen.
Other Common Raw Dishes
In addition to crudo and ceviche, there are other other popular raw foods that are sometimes confused with one another. Let’s examine some of the most popular alternatives.
Poke (poh-keh), which means “chop, slice, or portion,” is a Hawaiian-style raw fish dish. It is comparable to crudo in many ways, and there are no size constraints on the seafood. It can be cooked with a variety of seafood, the most common being tuna, and is appropriately seasoned with Asian or Polynesian herbs and spices before being tossed in soy sauce and oil-based sauces.
Unlike crudo, tartare (tahr-tahr) preparation is governed by a number of strict guidelines. It is composed of seafood that has been chopped or diced and combined with a sauce or dressing. Due to the sauce that aids in maintaining its shape, seafood tartare is typically presented in a circular fashion.
Tuna and salmon are the most commonly utilized fish for tartare because they both have a moderate flavor and combine well with robust sauces and seasonings.
It is common practice in Italy to serve raw beef carpaccio (car-pah-chee-oh) as an appetizer. The raw beef is sliced very thinly and then dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and other seasonings like onions and capers. In today’s kitchens, the term “sashimi” can also mean any thinly sliced meat or fish. Carpaccio can also refer to very thinly sliced fruits and vegetables.
Sushi and sashimi are both popular Japanese dishes prepared from thinly sliced raw ingredients. Although fish and seafood are used most frequently, other meats, such as cattle, hog, chicken, and horse, may also be used to make it.
Sashimi can be sliced into slices, cubes, think strips, or rectangles, depending on the type of beef. The majority of sashimi is eaten raw, although some pieces might be temporarily braised, grilled, boiled, or cooked for flavor or to prevent food illness.
Gravlax is a traditional Nordic dish made from the freshest salmon available. It is cured for a few days with salt, sugar, and dill before being served on top of rye bread with a sauce. Gravlax (smoked salmon) is widely eaten with bagels in America!
Now that you know all about crudo and ceviche, as well as their similarities and differences, we thought you might have a few further questions.
How long does ceviche last?
Because of the citric acid marinade, the fish can be kept for up to 2 days in the fridge before it loses its safety for consumption.
Is prosciutto crudo cooked?
The Italian word crudo, which means “raw,” refers to the fact that prosciutto crudo is seasoned and dry-aged but never cooked.