Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr 20 mins
The appreciation of good food is one thing people all over the world have in common. When traveling around the world, dining on local cuisine is an important part of exploring different cultures and regions. On one of my first encounters with local cuisines from another country was in Lima, Peru. I had been invited there for business purposes by the then Minister of Health, Dr. Waldo Fernandez. Waldo and I had become friends when I was employed by St. Luke’s/Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. As our friendship progressed, he had invited me to Peru, which I accepted My visit coincided with the convening of the Peruvian Congress of Cardiology at which I was invited to make a presentation. At the banquet that terminated the convention, I was introduced to the Peruvian National Drink – the “Pisco Sour.” This drink was so delicious, I had to have the recipe and was given the original recipe by Waldo who had obtained it from the vineyard at Tabernero. I will publish this shortly. The next day, I was invited to visit the military hospital there in Lima by Dr. Jaime Contrerous, the Director of all the military hospitals in Peru. Dr. Contrerous invited me back into the patient exam area where he introduced me to a quite large gentleman on a treadmill. It turned out that this gentleman was the then “President for Life” or dictator. He was the last dictator of Peru before he stepped down and allowed free elections. “El Presidente” invited me to lunch at his personal golf course the next day. He sent his personal car to pick me up and deliver me to the golf course. When I arrived, I found a marvelous wonderland of flowers that I had never seen before. Birds of Paradise were everywhere. I was startled to see peons everywhere watering each flower by hand with huge water buckets. Other peons were cutting the grass on the course by hand using giant scissors! El Presidente had his staff set up tables on the 18th green and we were served lunch there. The first course turned out to be ceviche made with the local langostinos. Except for the sushi I had in Japan, I had never eaten raw fish before. Then El Presidente explained that the lime juice that was used in the preparation actually cooked the fish. It was so delicious, I asked for the recipe and was granted it.
- 2 lbs fish fillets (such as flounder, sole, or red snapper)
- salt, to taste
- 1 cup fresh lime juice (about 12 limes)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped very fine
- 1 -2 fresh chili pepper, seeded and chopped fine (preferably aji Amarillo)
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine (1/2 cup)
- 3 -4 lettuce leaves
- 4 ears corn, cooked and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 lb sweet potato, roasted in the skin, peeled, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
- 1 lb yucca root, peeled, cut into little-finger-sized slices, and boiled until soft
- Cut the fish into strips 1 ½ inches long by ¼ inch wide. Soak the strips in lightly salted water for 1 hour to tenderize. Drain well.
- Put the fish in a bowl and fold in the lime juice carefully. Add the salt, garlic, and aji and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Just before serving, mix in the parsley, cilantro, and onion.
- To serve, line a bowl or large platter with the lettuce. Place the ceviche in the center. Surround it with 3 separate mounds; corn pieces at the top of the platter, sweet potato slices on one end, yucca on the other. Garnish with a few strands of the local seaweed,yuyu if available.
Great dish. Sad story. "El Presidente" sounds like a terrible man to work for. The whole story, while "cool". Reeks of "snootie-ness". Sorry. I can't imagine asking my lawn-man to cut my plants with scissors. Wow.
The Ceviche is a very tasty dish for whom like raw seafood,you can serve it as an "appetizer". I like it very much and I have prepared this dish many times!!. I would suggest this preparation: put cut fresh tender fish (ex.tilapia) in a bowl, add some ice cubes (3-5 enough),chopped garlic and salt. Then add lime juice (juice of 5 squeezed key limes per lb of fish, aprox), pepper and cilantro.Let it set for 10 min. Taste juice to check flavor.Place onion over fish and serve with slices of boiled corn in the cob, sweet potatoes and leaves of lettuce. Enjoy!!