The opening chapter of Martin Morales's new cookbook, Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen, contains, not surprisingly, an array of ceviches. Some are traditionally Peruvian, others have a modern British twist, while still others retain influence from the Japanese community in Peru. These types vary by ingredient, but also by technique: the traditional recipes are far more rustic than the others, and each Japanese recipe requires that fish be cut in a thin, sashimi-style piece. Call me lazy, but I prefer rustic, bolder flavors to the more delicate (and time consuming) recipes.
This particular ceviche is the signature dish at Morales's London restaurant, and its flavors will likely be familiar to ceviche fans: chili, onion, lime, and very fresh fish. The stand-out component of the dish is its aji amarillo chili-laced tiger's milk (the saucy marinade for the fish). The fruity chili, a favorite in Peru, brings sweet heat to the dish, setting it apart from all of the jalapeno- or habanero-filled ceviches you're likely to encounter state-side.
Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't cook this book without making at least one ceviche.
What worked: I appreciated the subtlety of the garlic, ginger, and cilantro infused lime juice in the tiger's milk. I could still taste the layers of flavor in the final dish without all of the ingredients cluttering up the bowl of fish.
What didn't: I don't recommend using a full large red onion. As will be the case with most of the recipes in this series, I'd cut the onion in half.
Suggested tweaks: If you can't find aji amarillo chilies, you can substitute a mix of habaneros, orange bell pepper, and a bit of orange juice. If you can't find limo chilies, you can substitute a habanero chili mixed with a squeeze of lemon juice. Morales recommends baking the sweet potato, but you could also steam it or boil it whole (with the skin on).
Reprinted with permission from Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen: Authentic Recipes for Lomo Saltado, Antichuchos, Tiraditos, Alfajores, and Pisco Cocktails by Martin Morales. Copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Amarillo Chili Tiger's Milk
- 1/4 inch (5 mm) piece fresh ginger, cut in half
- 1 small clove garlic, cut in half
- 4 roughly chopped cilantro sprigs
- 8 limes, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons Amarillo Chile Paste
- 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 1/3 lb (600 g) sea bass fillet (or other white fish), skinned and trimmed
- Amarillo Chili Tiger's Milk (above)
- A few cilantro sprigs, leaves finely chopped
- 1 limo chili, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 sweet potato, cooked and cut into small cubes
- Fine sea salt
To make the tiger's milk: Put the fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro sprigs, and the lime juice in a bowl. Stir and then leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve into another bowl. Add salt and amarillo chili paste and mix well. This will keep for 4 hours in the fridge.
To make the ceviche: Rinse the onion and then leave it to soak in iced water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly, spread out on a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess water and then place in the fridge until needed. This will reduce the strength of the onion and help to keep the slices crisp.
Cut the fish into uniform strips of around 1 1/4 by 3/4 inch (3 by 2 cm). Place in a large bowl, add a good pinch of salt, and mix together gently with a metal spoon. The salt will help open the fish’s pores. Leave this for 2 minutes and then pour over the tiger’s milk and combine gently with the spoon. Leave the fish to “cook” in this marinade for 2 minutes.
Add the onion, cilantro, chili, and sweet potato to the fish. Mix together gently with the spoon and taste to check that the balance of salt, sour, and chili is to your liking. Divide among serving bowls and serve immediately.