Fish Salad Cooked in Lime Juice
he English title of this recipe is not an altogether accurate description of ceviche since it is the lime (or lemon juice) that "cooks" the fish. Peruvians are justifiably proud of their internationally famous method of serving fish tidbits. A mixed assortment can include squid, octopus, scallops, clams, langostas, as well as pata de mula, a shellfish similar to scallops. Then there are the black scallops of Peru, a rarity. All can be used in a classic ceviche, insuring a variety of textures and flavors.
2 pounds white-fleshed skinless fish fillets such as flounder, sole, or corvina
1 cup fresh lime juice (about 12 limes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small clove garlic, chopped very fine
1 or 2 fresh aji amarillo
(yellow Peruvian chili), seeded and chopped fine, or substitute the canned aji
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 medium onion, chopped fine (1/2 cup)
3 or 4 lettuce leaves
4 ears of corn, cooked and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound sweet potatoes, roasted in the skin, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 pound yuca, peeled, cut into little-finger-sized slices, and boiled until soft
A few strands of yuyo
(a tangy seaweed, optional)
1. Cut the fish into strips 1 1/2 inches long by 1/4 inch wide. Soak the strips in lightly salted water for 1 hour to tenderize. Drain well.
2. Put the fish in a bowl and fold in the lime juice carefully. Add the salt, garlic, and aji
and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Just before serving, mix in the parsley, cilantro, and onion.
4. To serve, line a bowl or large platter with the lettuce. Place the ceviche
in the center. Surround it with 3 separate mounds: corn pieces at the top of the platter, sweet potato slices on one end, yucca on the other. Garnish with the seaweed, if using.
• Known in Peru as cebiche, this dish is a national favorite, making use of the country’s incredible variety of superfresh fish and shellfish. Seviche dates back to the Incas, who seasoned their fish with sea salt and aji (chile peppers) and cured it in the acidic juice of tumbo, a tart tropical fruit. The Spanish later introduced citrus fruits, and lime juice became the acid of choice. To approximate the taste of pre-Hispanic ceviche, reduce the lime juice in this recipe to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup passion fruit pulp, scraped from halved, fresh ripe passion fruits with soft, crinkly skins.
• Look for fresh aji amarillo chile peppers in stores that carry Peruvian ingredients. If you can’t find them, use aji amarillo paste, available online at www.perucooking.com.