Ceviche, the delicious Latin-American dish of fish “cooked” in citrus juices with onion, hot pepper and cilantro, has become a fairly common restaurant menu item. Usually, we see the Mexican version of this dish here in the US – but there are other variations from deep in South America that have their own unique interpretations.
This recipe is from Peru and combines corn, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes and hot peppers (Peru is the ancestral home of all these ingredients!) with the traditional ocean fish that are found sparkling fresh in the stores of Lima, the capital city. The Food Dictator always approves of authentic recipes with a unique interpretation for today’s palates – this recipe most definitely qualifies!
It’s a different ceviche than what you are used to and can easily serve as a main course – my recipe has its charms and rewards, so do give it a try, citizens! :)
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1 ½ pounds sea bass fillets, (or use flounder, fluke or snapper) cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
¼ cup minced cilantro leaves
2 rocoto chiles, seeds and stems removed, cut into rings (available at Latin American markets) or substitute thin rings of serrano peppers
2 Aji amarillo pepper ground to a paste (available at Latin American markets) or 1 tablespoon Aji pepper paste from the jar
5 cloves of garlic, crushed through a press
1 teaspoon paprika
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup grapefruit juice (note – this lime/lemon/grapefruit juice combo is a replacement for bitter orange juice – if you can find them, use 2 cups of that juice instead)
1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick slices
1/2 pound purple potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick slices (substitute Yukon Gold, if you can’t find the purple ones)
3 ears fresh corn, cleaned and cut into 2-inch thick slices
Bibb lettuce leaves
Place the cut and cleaned fish into a large non-metal bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the garlic/Aji pepper paste – toss well and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Add 1/2 of the rocoto chile rings, paprika, onion, cilantro, juice and mix lightly; cover the mixture and refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours – make sure the flesh is opaque, meaning the acids have throughly ‘cooked’ the fish.
About 30 minutes before serving the fish, broil the sweet potatoes until lightly browned – turn them and remove when other side is also lightly browned (Suggestion from a Peruvian friend); Simultaneously, put up a pot of boiling water and add the corn to pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and reserve, at room temperature, for the garnish.
Drain the fish thoroughly in a colander and arrange the Bibb lettuce leaves on 4 dinner plates. Place the fish on the lettuce leaves and garnish with the reserved chile rings and surround the fish with the cooked potatoes and corn.