South Americans are not all poncho wearing pan pipers or crazed futbol fans, there is also a serious majority of the population who love their seafood. In fact, for centuries there has been a friendly rivalry to produce the tastiest ceviche and now this gastronomic battle is being contested between the majority of Latin American countries!
Peru and Ecuador both claim ceviche as their own, as both countries have an impressive variety of fish and shellfish, but historians are leaning in favour of Peru. Every Latin American country gives this seafood salad recipe its own individual flavour, particularly with the garnishes they choose. In Peru, ceviche is served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn-on-the-cob, while in Ecuador it is accompanied by popcorn, potato chips, or corn nuts. In Mexico ceviche is even served as a taco filling.
The traditional recipe is seafood prepared in a centuries-old method of cooking: by contact with the acidity of citrus juice instead of heat. It can be eaten as a first course or main dish and it is absolutely worth a taste to discover what all the fuss is about!
Peruvian Mixed Seafood Ceviche
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 dried chillies, seeds and stems removed, crushed in a mortar, or substitute 2 New Mexican chillies (mild) or 6 piquins (hot)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large red onion, sliced paper thin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
250g (1/2 lb) white fish fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
500g (1 lb) cleaned shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels or a mix)
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, Italian preferred
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into inch thick slices
3 ears of fresh corn, cleaned and cut into 2-inch thick slices
4 large lettuce leaves
Combine all the ingredients (except the potatoes, corn and lettuce) in a large ceramic bowl, mix well, cover tightly and refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours. Important: add more citrus juice if it doesn’t cover the fish.
Just before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the sweet potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. Then add the rounds of corn to the pot and boil for another 10 minutes. Drain the vegetables thoroughly. Drain the fish in a colander to remove the marinade and arrange the fish on the lettuce on 4 dinner plates. Garnish with the sweet potatoes and the rounds of corn.