Two summers ago, our Concert in the Park culinary group dedicated one of our Sunday picnics to Peruvian cuisine. We had an amazing spread, including Pisco Sours to start, followed by two versions of Aji de Gallina, Papas a la huancaina, Causa, Empanadas with Rocoto Rellanos filling, and Alfajores.
I've made ceviche once or twice, but never Peruvian-style. In preparation for this challenge, I looked to see if San Diego had any Peruvian restaurants. There is one in Pacific Beach, called Latin Chef, with great reviews, so I called John on a Friday afternoon and suggested we meet there for lunch. We sat outside, in the warm afternoon sun, and tried their Ceviche and Aji de Gallina. I talked to the owner, told him about our challenge, and he happily answered a few of my questions.
Armed with additional knowledge, a bag of dried corn, and an order of Alfajores to go, I was easily able to come home and prepare an authentic Peruvian Ceviche platter.
Adapted from The Daring Cooks' Challenge Recipe
1 pound skinless, boneless Pacific halibut or other firm white ocean fish, cut in a 1/2-inch dice (I used Tilapia)
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (Key limes are closest to the limes used in Peru, but you'll need about 40 to yield a cup of juice)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I was a bit short on my lime juice, but also wanted a little sweetness from the orange juice)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 aji amarillo chile, seeds removed, minced (we found these in a jar at a local Peruvian market)
1/2 serrano or jalapeño chile, seeds removed, finely diced
1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Pickled red onions, for garnish
Sliced sweet potato (I roasted ours, but you can use boiled or baked)
Mote Corn (Latin Chef sold us a bag)
Sliced avocado, for garnish
Rinse and dry fish and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place fish in a medium glass or nonreactive bowl.
In another small bowl, whisk lime juice, minced chiles, ginger, olive oil, and cilantro. Pour over fish and toss to coat evenly. Scatter red onion slices over the top, cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator, and allow fish to "cook" in the juice for only about 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Drain the ceviche, and season to taste with salt. Serve each portion in a chilled martini glass, or on a chilled plate, garnished with pickled red onions, sweet potato, corn, and slices of avocado.
Ceviche (also spelled cebiche or seviche) is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chile peppers. Additional seasonings such as onion, salt, and pepper may also be added. Ceviche is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement its flavors such as sweet potato, lettuce, corn, or avocado.
In Peru, ceviche has been declared to be part of Peru's "national heritage" and has even had a holiday declared in its honor. The classic Peruvian ceviche is composed of chunks of raw fish, marinated in freshly-squeezed key lime or bitter orange (naranja agria) juice, with sliced onions, chile, salt and pepper. Corvina or Cebo (sea bass) was the fish traditionally used. The mixture was traditionally marinated for several hours and served at room temperature with chunks of corn-on-the-cob, and slices of cooked sweet potato. Regional or contemporary variations include garlic, minced Peruvian ají limo, or the Andean chile rocoto, toasted corn or "cancha" and yuyo (seaweed).
The modern version of Peruvian ceviche, which is similar to the method used in making Japanese sashimi, consists of fish marinated for a few minutes and served promptly. Many Peruvian cevicherías serve a small glass of the marinade (as an appetizer) along with the fish, which is called leche de tigre or leche de pantera [see Wikipedia].
For the complete Daring Cooks' Challenge recipes, please visit The Daring Kitchen Recipe Archive. Also, please stop by the Daring Cooks' blogroll for links to member blogs, and check out some of the creative takes on this month's challenge.
Thank you, Kathlyn, for hosting this month's challenge, and I promise to try the Papas Rellenas soon!