Hace unas semanas nos invitaron a cenar a su preciosa casa Lázaro y Devin. Desde que se han trasladado ya hace dos años, apenas han organizado encuentros, ya que la agenda de nuestro querido Lázaro está más que apretada. El motivo de la invitación era que Devin nos iba a deleitar con 3 deliciosos platos, que había estado preparando durante 3 días. Un honor. Fui con mi amiga Isabel y conocimos al Sr. Wittmore, todo un personaje. La cena transcurrió entre risas y degustaciones sorprendentes. Coherencia, equilibrio y creatividad en los platos hicieron una cena única y brillante. A Devin le he pedido la receta y que nos cuente cómo aprendió a hacer el ceviche. Creo que la historia es difícil de superar. Ahí va (está en spanglish porque Devin es americano).
Here´s the recipe for 10 people:
– 3 kilos de Merluza
– 1 cebolla roja grande
– 300 ml zumo de lima (lime?)…pero no verde verde…more yellow-green because in Peru they have a special lime that is used for the ceviche that cooks the fish
– 200 ml water
– Un poco de sal
– Pimenta negra
– 2 batatas
– 2 ají amarillo, traditional hot peper from Peru (can buy at the Boqueria frozen!)
– Choclo (maiz from Peru, also at the Boqueria!)
Cut the ají amarillo down the center and remove the seeds. Cut the final quarter of the aji and reserve. Take the remaining ají and boil it since it is very spicy. Then with the remaining raw tips, slice thin, drizzle with olive oil and serve in a small bowl for guests who like it, muy fuerte! After boiling the aji for 7-10 minutes, remove from water, drain, cool and slice thin.
At the same time boil the sweet potato for 1-hour. Check with a fork. And boil the choclo for 10-15 minutes, if frozen, then sprinkle with salt. Thinly slice the red onion and soak in cold wáter for 2 minutes to take the ´bite´out, then drain.
Meanwhile you can begin to prepare the fish. Have the fishmonger filet the fish, in this case merluza (you can also use corbina), then check for any remaining bones, clean, rinse, pat dry and remove the skin with a good knife. then cut into medium size cubes.
Combine the lime juice with the water and reserve. Place the sliced fish in a large glass pyrex dish, add the sliced red onion, , a little maldon salt, black pepper and the mixture of lime juice and water.
The fish cooks quickly and should not stay in the liquid more than 30 minutes to prevent over cooking. If you are making ahead of time, remove the fish from the liquid, reserving the liquid to add prior to serving. This liquid is now called ¨leche de tigre.¨ Traditionalists may balk at this and prepare it exactly 30 minutes prior to serving. Your choice!
To serve, add the leche de tigre with the sliced red onion and sliced aji to the fish, spoon into dishes and garnish with 2 slices of boiled sweet potato (or cubed), choclo (or roasted corn), and some sprigs of cilantro. Since not everyone enjoys cilantro I serve it as a garnish to mix in.
This recipe developed from a recent trip to Lima, Peru in April. On my second day there I met chef Adolfo Perret of Punta Sol restaurant in Mira Flores. We had lunch together with his wife, Gaby, and sampled a trio of ceviches. Including his sigunature ceviche,¨Lazaro,¨which happens to be my partners name, Lazaro Rosa-Violan. He promised to show me how to prepare them, but I was quite short on time! I went to Peru to see Mario Testino for the opening of the Princess Diana room at his foundation MATE. The exhibition featured portraits of her 1997 Vanity Fair Cover Shoot that he shot, which was her last seated shoot prior to her death. They had the dress she wore in the center of the room! It was amazing! And she remains forever beautiful and eternal.
Back to the ceviche, on my last day, while with Mario at the ¨El caballo de paso con el chalan,¨ Adolfo and Gaby had been seated behind us. Adolfo pulled me to the kitchen where his former sous-chef helmed the kitchen. Out came all of the ingredients and most beautiful fish. Within seconds they were tossing ingredients together and I was savoring every bite. Lesson complete and to the airport I went!
When I came home and hosted a dinner party I prepared a variation of what I learned, along with the help of my Peruvian friend, Sonia Bermúdez and some tips from David Serra, head chef of Boca Grande Restaurant, it all came together.