As someone who loves ceviches and tiraditos in all their forms, I’ve wanted to post a raw fish recipe for awhile but have held back. I understand that sushi-grade fish is safe to eat but there’s something unnerving about preparing it yourself. I leave it to others to not cook it correctly for me and certainly didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone else how to go about it. When Gastón Acurio’s Peru: The Cookbook came out, there were no excuses. Beautifully put together and encyclopedic, Peru is more self-contained than I’d expected but it’s surprising how personal each entry feels. I decided on the tiradito nikkei – partly because of its attainable ingredient list and partly because it calls for completely fish that’s completely raw – no searing, no marinating. Finding the freshest possible fish was key so I went to my favorite fish store in the neighborhood and asked my friend Alex to show me how to get even slices. After cutting off a corner, he gave it for me to sample. Taken aback, I couldn’t say no. I bought a pound and brought it home and from there it couldn’t have been simpler. By the time you’ve prepped the ingredients, it’s pretty much just a quick assemblyand you’re done. As I paused to take a few pictures, I could see the citrus based sauce was cooking the edges of the fish and hurried up. I didn’t want it to interfere with the fish’s texture that – even on its own – was all ocean. Read more
Posts from the ‘Fish & Shellfish’ Category
Beginning next week, I’ll be taking a pretty extensive cookbook research break that will keep me away from this site well into June, so I didn’t want to miss the chance to post one more time. In what might be the most boring premise for a reality television show ever – leading up to any trip, I stop buying food and try to only use what I have on hand. That left me with a few links of chorizo bought for garbanzos, an extra 2 pounds of malanga that never became fritters, and a half bunch of parsley because – well there’s just always parsley.
Every four years, my extended family gets together in South Carolina for a week long reunion. Synced to both the presidential election (something to argue about) and the summer Olympics (something to look forward to), we always know when it’s coming. This time I carved out a few extra days to visit nearby Savannah – a city I’ve had a crush on for a very long time. Read more
Despite a lifetime of research, I’m always discovering something new in Cuban food. While it reminds me not to take anything for granted, less pleasant is knowing that my nearest and dearest have been holding out on me. That’s how I felt when I discovered that harina – cornmeal simmered to a creamy state and topped with peppery sofritos and poached or fried eggs, ham or chorizo, shimp or crab – was a Cuban comfort food staple that everyone was having but no one was talking about. I’d enjoyed Italian polenta prepared this way, but I hadn’t realized there was a take on it that was much closer to home – just not my home. Read more
The weeks between Mardi Gras and Easter are defined by what you can’t do (or can’t do just yet) – light jackets but schizophrenic weather, longer days but dark morning commutes – a period of austerity before it’s all bunnies, baskets and tulips. While I’m far from orthodox, I do try to follow the no-meat on Friday rule during lent (though full confession I only seem to remember halfway through a turkey sandwich or mid-Korean barbecue). With friends coming over, the timing was right for seafood. Read more
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks under water. Not that I’ve been unusually busy, I’ve just returned to my aqua girl routines in hopes of washing away the holiday excess – drinking water like it’s my job, swimming laps like I’m being chased by a shark, and looking to add more fish to my weekly diet. Cooking fish has always made me nervous. At best, I worry that I’ll let it go too long and over cook it, at worst, that I’ll poison everyone I love in one fell swoop. I usually stick to the sushi grade varieties in the belief that if I’d just as soon eat it raw, there isn’t anything I can do to make it deadly. Still, no one likes a rut and the guys at the fish store automatically move towards the salmon before I’ve even placed my order. Sometimes I’ll change it to tuna or trout just to keep them guessing but I’m pretty sure it’s daring only to me. After a few weeks of seeing pargo (snapper) on every Cuban restaurant menu in Miami, I thought it was time switch things up again. Read more
Arroz con coco rates high on the long list of things I should have tried sooner. A staple of Caribbean cooking, especially along the coast of Colombia, it’s essentially white rice cooked with coconut milk then served with fried fish, plantains, avocado. Deceptively simple, I used equal parts canned light coconut milk and water for the first attempt, combining all the ingredients and bringing them to a fast boil. The result was great if I was going for rice pudding but otherwise too sticky and un-fluffable. Trying to get the proportions and the timing right, I used a second can and sautéed the rice with a little bit of oil before adding the liquid. It may have worked but I let it go too long and the amount of rice was way off, so it burned before it cooked. Read more