Ceviche

Ceviche

Combining a Spanish-influenced citrus and coriander (cilantro) punch
with marinated raw fish and chillies used in Incan times, Peru’s national dish has now been adopted and adapted across Latin America.

Origins
The roots of ceviche go back to Incan times when chicha, a marinated corn drink, was used to flavour fish prior to cooking. The lime was introduced to Latin America by Spanish conquistadores, proving a sublime match for the white fish of South America’s Pacific coast. Some also believe that oceangoing navigators from Polynesian islands introduced a version of the dish to Easter Island and continental South America. Dishes such as Rarotonga’s ika mata are very similar.

You’ll need
1 red onion, peeled and thinly
sliced
1kg (2lb) fillets of firm white
fish (eg sea bass) cut into
large bite-sized chunks
1 pinch red chilli flakes
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and
finely chopped
½ cup (125mL) fresh lime juice
3 tbs olive oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
¼ tsp caster sugar
1 Peruvian aji limo chilli,
seeded and chopped
(substitute a small red chilli
if not available)
2 sweetcorn cobs cut in half
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and
sliced thinly
3 tbs chopped fresh
coriander (cilantro) leaves
Salt
Ground black pepper

Cooking Method
1 Layer half of the sliced onions in a glass bowl and lay the fish on top. Sprinkle on the chilli flakes and chopped garlic and cover with lime juice.
2 Cover the bowl and place in a refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours. During this time spoon the lime juice over the fish two more times.
3 Whisk together 2 tbs of the oil, rice vinegar and caster sugar until smooth, then add the chopped fresh chilli.
4 After the fish has been marinated, drain and discard the lime juice and stir in the mixture of chilli/oil/rice vinegar/caster sugar, blending well.
5 Preheat a grill to medium.
6 Brush the sweetcorn and sweet potato with the remaining oil and place under the grill for 10–15 minutes, turning frequently until cooked and lightly charred.
7 Divide the ceviche into six servings. Top with chopped coriander and the remaining sliced red onion, and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.
8 Serve with the grilled sweetcorn and sweet potato.

Tasting notes
On a continent where food can be heavy with carbs – rice, beans and potatoes anyone? – the lightness of flavour of ceviche is a revelation. Visually, it’s also a diverse treat with red and green accents of chilli and coriander standing out on the neutral canvas of white fish punctuated by the pink of finely chopped red onion. Your first mouthful will boldly announce the super-fresh crunch of the onions and the sharp punch of lime juice. Then the chilli fire hits, but it’s balanced with the freshness of the fish and a subtle sweetness from a touch of sugar, creating an exciting epicurean experience like no other.

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