I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Peruvian Ceviche for Deb

Deb is getting married, and of her course her shower had to be fabulous. Fortunately she has creative friends to make this happen: a sparkling wine tasting event in six courses. I was tasked with bringing lumpia and making ceviche. We decided

#1: Prosecco
Matches well with fried foods, was divine with Goldilocks' Lumpia Shanghai, little finger-food sized lumpia filled with ground pork and shrimp.

#2: Cava
Matches with seafood, delicious with Peruvian ceviche, as adapted from Epicurious recipe by Gaston Acurio.

#3: Blanc de Blanc
Best served with salty foods, we loved it with aged gouda and Noreen's tiny balls of goat cheese rolled in crushed pistachios and pretty squares of manchego and membrillo skewered between a folded watercress leaf. This wine was completely overpowered by the salumi and prosciutto, I want to try this with a blanc de noir to see if it comes off better.

#4: Sparkling Rose
Noreen pulled out all the stops for this one, a perfectly roasted beef tenderloin with arugula, a creamed horseradish sauce and a mustard-tarragon remoulade, with crusty bread for making small open-facd sandwiches. This was delicious and addictive, I want to remember this one for a cocktail party in the future. One thing I'd add: a small bowl of good salt to top the beef.

#5: Moscato
This wine was the most gorgeous orangy-pink and while it was painfully sweet on its own, it was lovely with chocolate-covered strawberries.

#6: Asti
The Cinzano Asti was a good bit better than the spumante of my youth, even more so with a mini cupcake.

I fiddled with a few recipes to get the ceviche, ultimately settling on a "leche de tigre" puree as the marinade. Since this was going to be sitting for a while (on a bowl of ice), I didn't go through the step of blending with ice and then straining. I used a red jalapeno, which I wouldn't do next time, as when blended with the cilantro the marinade was brownish. A green jalapeno would have made for a brighter color.

Peruvian Ceviche with Leche de Tigre
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer, or

Leche de tigre:
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1 t ground ají amarillo (available from a Latin grocer specializing in Peruvian items or from Spice Hound)
1 green jalapeno, seeds and veins removed
1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 c bottled clam juice

1 small sweet potato (about 8 ounces)
1 cup cancha (available from a Latin grocer specializing in Peruvian items)
1 green jalapeno, seeds and veins removed and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, fine dice
1 pound super-fresh red snapper or halibut, or in combination with lightly steamed mussels
1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced, divided
Kosher salt
2 T coarsely chopped cilantro

Steam the sweet potato approximately 20 minutes until tender and allow to cool. Then peel and dice into ~1/2" pieces.

For leche de tigre:
Purée all ingredients but clam juice together in a blender until smooth. Taste, add clam juice and adjust salt. Cover and chill until needed.

For ceviche:
Dice fish into small squares, combine with 3/4 onions and peppers in a large non-reactive bowl and gently fold in leche de tigre; stir well. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, until fish is visible cooked at the edges.

For the cancha: 
Toasted cancha doesn't puff up like regular popcorn, it just becomes slightly puffy. Heat 1 T vegetable oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add 1 cup cancha and heat, shaking the pan occassionally, until the kernals start to pop. Cover loosely with a lid and cook, shaking constantly, until the popping stops and the color has turned to deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, allow to cool and store in an airtight container until needed.

To serve:
Remove ceviche from refrigerator; adjust salt, and add additional aji amarillo if desired. Using a slotted spoon, divide ceviche onto plates. Drizzle with leche de tigre from bowl; garnish with remaining onion and cilantro and serve alongside a few pieces of sweet potato and kernels of toasted cancha. Alternatively, serve in a bowl over another bowl of ice, or in endive leaves as a finger food.


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