Peruvian Cebiche

Recipe contributed by Morena Escardo; photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  35 minutes Cook Time:  30 minutes

Peruvian Cebiche

Cebiche, raw fish cured in seasoned lime juice, is the national dish of Peru. Serve immediately, or the citrus keeps “cooking” the fish and the texture and color will change.

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato

1 cup fresh or frozen and defrosted corn kernels or Peruvian large kernel corn (see Kitchen Tip #2)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon grated celery

1 teaspoon aji amarillo paste or ¼ teaspoon cayenne or hot chili powder

Juice of 4 limes

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

12 ounces fish fillets, like salmon, sole, or flounder, cut into bite-size pieces

2 lettuce leaves

½ red onion, finely sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. Boil the sweet potato in a pot of water for about 30 minutes, depending on its the size, or until it feels tender when you pierce it with the tip of a knife. With tongs, remove from the pan and let cool; then peel and cut into half-inch slices.
  2. Meanwhile, if you are using fresh corn, place the corn into a saucepan and add enough water to cover. it. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes. With tongs, remove it from the pan and let cool. Remove the kernels with a sharp knife.
  3. Combine the garlic, ginger, celery, aji amarillo paste (or chili powder), and lime juice in a nonreactive stainless steel or glass bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Wash the fish and dry gently with paper towels. Add to the bowl with the seasoned lime juice, and 6 ice cubes. Toss gently, discard the ice, and serve immediately in true Peruvian style, or let it cure for 4 to 5 minutes, but no longer.

Kitchen Tips

  1. This dish works beautifully with all kinds of fish, except mackerel.
  2. Morena recommends using Peruvian large kernel corn for this dish; it is the traditional ingredient, but it can be a challenge to find unless you live near a well-stocked Latin market.
  3. Aji amarillo paste is available in Peruvian and other Latin American markets and online, but you can also substitute fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped (1 teaspoon), or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

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