If you’ve seen words such as “crudo” and “ceviche” on menus at fancy restaurants and found yourself scratching your head trying to figure out what they are and how they are different from one another, don’t worry as we have it all covered!
So, what is the difference between crudo and ceviche? Crudo is a term used to refer to a variety of dishes made with either raw meat or fish, whereas ceviche is a dish made with raw seafood that involves curing the meat with lime or lemon juice.
Read on to find out what exactly crudo and ceviche are and how they compare with each other in terms of ingredients, preparation method, taste, serving, and more.
What Is Crudo?
Crudo means “raw” in Italian and Spanish.
This is a general term used for a dish made with uncooked ingredients (particularly fish, shellfish, and meat) that are lightly dressed in a bit of olive oil and seasoned.
Crudo means anything that consists primarily of uncooked ingredients, regardless of the size, shape, or technique used for preparing the dish.
Often served as an appetizer, crudo can take many forms and can be prepared using a variety of seafood or meat as well as a wide range of dressings and seasonings.
The raw fish or meat can be thinly sliced, minced, or diced, and dressed in olive oil, a vinaigrette, or even a flavorful sauce. It could be dressed in lime or lemon juice as well, although in a lower concentration as compared to ceviche.
You can even use shaved zucchini or sliced plums or carrots as an alternative to raw fish or meat!
The beauty of crudo is that the chef preparing the dish has complete freedom to develop a delicious dish highlighting all the unique ingredients.
Pesce crudo, meaning fish crudo, is a popular type of crudo made with raw fish. It is an Italian dish that can be seen in the appetizer section of many restaurants.
It consists of thinly sliced pieces of raw fish sprinkled with some salt and flavored with lemon and olive oil. It may be served with a side dish such as bread.
Other than the main ingredient, a key consideration when making crudo is the type of oil used to drizzle on top of it. Many chefs stick to classic olive oil, while others experiment with different options such as almond or truffle oil.
Are Crudo And ‘A Crudo’ The Same?
No, these terms refer to different things.
Crudo refers to a raw dish made with fish, shellfish, meat, or other uncooked ingredients.
A crudo, when used in reference to cooking, refers to a method of cooking where various raw ingredients are placed in a pan and cooked without any pre-cooking or sautéing.
What Is Ceviche?
Ceviche (seh-vee-chay) is an umbrella term used to describe “cooking” seafood by marinating it in citrus juice.
While it is found in many coastal areas throughout Latin America, it claims origins in Lima, Peru.
Some popular seafood options used to prepare it include shrimp, lobster, squid, snapper, conch, and octopus. In parts of Latin America, you will also find ceviches made with ingredients such as corn and sweet potato.
Other common ingredients include onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Some even add chili peppers directly into the dish or serve them on the side for some spice!
The raw fish is not cooked using heat but instead allowed to cure with lime or lemon juice for some amount of time.
The acidity from the limes or lemons causes the raw fish to “cook” as it changes its color from a translucent pink color to an opaque white color.
The fish also absorbs the flavor of the citrus juice and develops a firmer texture as a result of the curing process.
Before marinating, the fish is often diced into cubes and seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices.
It may be garnished with onions, parsley, and cilantro, and eaten with side dishes such as potatoes as an appetizer or light meal any time during the day.
Understanding how ceviche is “cooked” in citrus juice can be a bit confusing, mainly because there is no heat involved.
Both heat and citric acid cause a chemical process known as denaturation that alters the hydrogen bonds in the proteins from their original state so that they are free to interact with the other chemicals.
While the seafood isn’t technically raw, the curing process doesn’t kill off any bacteria like cooking with heat does. Keeping that in mind, you must eat ceviche made only from the freshest ingredients!
Are Ceviche And Tiradito The Same?
Like ceviche, tiradito is also a Peruvian dish made using raw fish. The difference between the two is that ceviche is cubed whereas tiradito is sliced.
Also, tiradito is sauced right before serving, while ceviche is marinated beforehand and allowed to “cook” in the citric acid.
Are Crudo And Ceviche Safe To Eat?
Since crudo and ceviche are made using raw ingredients, particularly seafood and meat, there is always the risk of foodborne illnesses due to lack of cooking.
To minimize the risk, always eat raw foods from reliable sources only, and if you are making them at home, make sure to use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients.
When purchasing fish, its appearance should tell you a lot about how fresh it is.
The flesh should be translucent and firm to the touch. When poking the fish, the flesh should come back to its original shape instead of your finger leaving an indentation in the meat.
Examine the eyes as they should look bright, clear, and moist. If they look cloudy, avoid purchasing the fish as it is not a good sign.
Crudo Vs Ceviche: Comparison Chart
Here is a comparison chart of crudo and ceviche to show how they are similar and different from one another in terms of origin, ingredients, preparation, and serving:
|Main Ingredients||Raw seafood, meat, fruit, and vegetables||Raw seafood, lime juice, and peppers|
|Preparation Technique||Served raw in any size, shape, and form||Cured with lime or lemon juice, diced into cubes before marinating|
|Serving Style||Served as an appetizer, usually with a side of bread||Served as an appetizer or light meal, usually with sides such as potatoes|
Other Common Raw Dishes
Besides crudo and ceviche, there are many other common raw dishes that most people often confuse with one another.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.
Poke (poh-keh), meaning to “cut, slice, or section,” is a type of raw fish salad distinct to Hawaii.
It shares quite a few similarities with crudo and doesn’t have any restrictions on seafood size.
It can be made with different types of seafood, tuna being the most popular, and is properly seasoned with Asian or Polynesian herbs and spices and tossed in soy sauce and oil-based dressings.
Unlike crudo, tartare (tahr-tahr) has a few firm rules related to how it should be prepared.
It is made using seafood which is cut or diced and mixed with a sauce or dressing to bind it together.
You will often see seafood tartare plated neatly in a nice circle owing to the sauce that helps keep it in shape.
The most popular seafood used for tartare is tuna and salmon, both of which provide a mild flavor and pair well with bold sauces and seasonings.
Carpaccio (car-pah-chee-oh) is a traditional Italian appetizer made with paper-thin sliced raw beef drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and garnished with onions and capers.
In modern cuisine, it may also refer to any thinly sliced meat or fish prepared in a similar fashion.
In some instances, thinly sliced fruit and vegetables may also be considered carpaccio.
Sashimi is a popular Japanese dish made of thinly-sliced raw food and is often confused with sushi.
While it is most commonly made with fish and seafood, it may use other types of meat as well such as beef, pork, chicken, and horse.
Depending on the type of meat, sashimi can be cut into various shapes such as slices, cubes, think strips, or rectangles.
Most sashimi is served raw, but a few items may be briefly cooked, braised, seared, or boiled for added flavor and to avoid food poisoning.
Gravlax is a Nordic food created by fishermen and made using the freshest salmon you can find.
It is cured with salt, sugar, and dill for a few days, after which it is served on top of rye bread with a sauce.
In America, gravlax (also smoked salmon) is commonly eaten with bagels!
Now that you know all about crudo and ceviche, as well as how they are similar to and different from one another, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have.
How long does ceviche last?
Since the fish has been marinated in citric acid, it should be safe to eat for a maximum of 2 days if stored properly in the refrigerator, after which it must be discarded.
Is prosciutto crudo cooked?
Prosciutto crudo is seasoned and dry-aged but never cooked, hence the same crudo (which means “raw” in Italian).