Sleep In The Dirt

5 Easy Steps To Make Ceviche While Beach Camping

The Campfire Chronicles

Heading to the beach to escape the cold, in search of the best mix of surf swells, or for all around fun? I’ve been heading down to Baja during the winter for most my life. Living out of my van and walking distance from the ocean presents some pretty awesome opportunities to dive in for your own snack, especially ceviche. 

I’m not a professional chef, but from my experience ceviche can be made in 5 easy steps. If you decide to head out into the water to catch your own fish, please be safe and always have a buddy. The ocean is a beautiful place, but we are land mammals, let’s not forget that! And don’t forget your camp furniture and cutting board to make homemade ceviche right from the beach.  

Step 1: Get your fish 

Andrew catches our fish for ceviche
Andrew catches our fish for ceviche. Photo: Dalton Johnson

You have two options here; grab some fish from the market or catch it yourself. We opted for catching it ourselves. Thus, we grabbed the speargun, dawned our wetsuits (some may not even need these), and went for a swim. Looking under rocks, holding our breath, and diving until we found our lunch. Then, BANG, we got it! Now, do we need another fish to feed the group, or is this enough?  It’s probably enough, so we headed in.  

Step 2: Clean Your Fish 

Spearfishing to make ceviche with Andrew in Baja Sur, MX
Spearfishing to make ceviche with Andrew in Baja Sur, MX. Photo: Dalton Johnson

This is the messy, stinky, kinda gross part of catching your own fish. To make ceviche, you need filets, so you’ll you need to prepare them. Pull out your knife and use its backside to descale the fish. This can be hard! Once the scales are gone, be ready to get dirty. You’ll cut the underside from jaw to tail and pull out the guts. Give the fish a rinse and if it has a midline, cut that out as well.  

 Now, you are ready to make a fillet. If you botch this, don’t worry, you are making ceviche! Cut out the meat starting behind the gills, or small side fin of the fish. Trace the top of the fish and make a big circle. Once done, angle your knife at 45 degrees and scrape the meat off the spin. BAM! Just like that you have a fillet. Remove the skin off the fish and cut up small chunks. 

If you bought your fish at the market, it’s important that you clean your fish with some drinking water. Although most of the lime juice will kill the bacteria, why chance it? Run some cold water on it, then pat to dry with a paper towel before you begin cutting.  

Step 3: Prepare the Ceviche 

Making ceviche with limes, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, and Tajin.
Making ceviche with limes, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, and Tajin. Photo: Dalton Johnson

The best part about ceviche is how EASY it is to make! If you prefer simple, just grab a few limes and the fish, toss it in a bowl, give it a mix. For those of you looking for this ceviche to explode upon your taste buds, give this a try: 

1 filet of fish (approximately 1 lb)

7-10 limes

1/2 medium onion

2-3 jalapeño 

Cilantro to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

And for those willing to fully integrate into the Baja spirit, grab yourself some Tajin.  

Step 4: Wait 

Game night with Kristin in Baja, Mexico
Game night with Kristin in Baja, Mexico. Photo: Dalton Johnson

This is the hardest part, waiting. Your stomach is growling and you want so badly to grab the closest chip, dunk it into the ceviche, and shovel the behemoth scoop into your mouth to be masticated. But, your should wait 10-30 minutes! Maybe go set up your tent, enjoy the sunset, or get in a quick game of connect four. 

Step 5: Consume 

Enjoying homemade ceviche right on the beach
Enjoying homemade ceviche right on the beach. Photo: Dalton Johnson

IT’S TIME! Open the container, call over the friends, and dig those chip shovels into the ceviche.  There you have it! Be safe, have a good time, and enjoy the camp life. 

About the author: Dalton Johnson is an award-winning commercial and editorial storyteller focused on the human experience in our natural world. From oceans to deserts to mountains, his ability to apply meaning to this natural world has lead to contributions of numerous galleries and written essays for outdoor brands, magazines, and NPOs. His ultimate goal is to rewrite the American Dream by inspiring others to design their lifestyles through rigorous introspection to consciously consume experiences instead of things. 

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