I met Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger at Vegas Uncork’d last year and tasted this Peruvian cerviche at the Caesars Palace Grand Tasting of the event. If you scroll through the post you will see a picture of them plus the cerviche which was beautifully presented in hollowed out and dried avocado skins. These two fabulous women have worked together since 1982 and are the co-owners of Border Grill in LA and Vegas. It was also the best cerviche I have ever encountered. I loved it so much I traipsed through the seemingly endless maize of the Forum shops in Caesars Palace to find the restaurant the next day. I simply had to eat it again. I’m mildly obsessed with Latin American flavours and was desperate to enjoy a good Mexican meal while on my short trip to the USA. The only thing that could have made this delicious ceviche better would have been to eat it with plantain chips like I had at Border Grill. I had it with corn chips instead which of course is always a good idea anyway.
The recipe features the South American Aji Amarillo chili, which is completely foreign here in South Africa so I needed to buy it from Amazon and get a friend to bring out for me. I bought the paste not the actual chillies which I can only imagine have a phenomenal flavour. After some research the closest relative to the Aji Amarillo that we can acquire here is the native sweet piquanté pepper aka Peppadew and although the flavour of the paste is probably difficult to go by, I think I could pick up some vague similarities especially around the fruitiness. I reckon this recipe can be made in South Africa by substituting the aji Amarillo chilli with hot piquant peppers and this is definitely what I will do next time.
I’ve included my riff of the recipe where I’ve halved the quantities, but really don’t do this, double it up because it is so delicious you will want to be eating more. I also didn’t make the pickled red onions, which would have made it even better, but I did enjoy it with avocado cut into dice.
Mary Sue sent me the recipe and gave me permission to share it on DrizzleandDip.com so I’ve included their version in totality as it was written.
The best part about cerviche is it’s so damn easy to make and is what every summer should taste like. It’s light and vibrant in flavour with just enough spice to get the party started. If you are a chilli head you can simply adjust the levels up. The crunchy corn or plantain chip is essential to scoop up this dish, providing a much-needed textural contrast.
~ Cooks notes: I used hake which is not ideal for cerviche as it’s too soft. I prefer angel fish, cob (if sustainably sourced) or kingklip as these are firmer. The recipe calls for a lot of fresh lime juice and I think this can be reduced a bit because its seems like such a waste to have all the leftover juice after the fish has cured and limes are always so expensive. I know this is leche de tigres and a delicacy in parts, but I’m never too sure what to do with it other than to drink it in a shot glass as a cure for a hangover. I find fish cures quite well in less.
Peruvian cerviche – From Border Grill:
Featuring South American aji amarillo chiles, freshly grated ginger, and lime, this ceviche is an ambassador to the exotic flavors of Peru. But you don’t have to travel around the world to get it. We serve it up in a crispy corn tortilla cone on the Border Grill Truck, and on a bed of plantain chips at our Border Grill restaurants in Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Las Vegas.
- 1 pound (500g) skinless, boneless sustainable fish*, cut in 1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 aji amarillo chile, stem and seeds removed, minced
- 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, diced
- 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aji amarillo paste
- Salt, to taste
- Plantain chips or tortilla chips, for garnish
- Pickled Red Onions (see recipe below), for garnish
- Sliced California avocado, for garnish
In a large bowl, combine fish and enough lime juice to cover. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Drain fish, reserving 1/4 cup of lime juice. Combine fish with remaining ingredients and reserved lime juice to taste and stir gently to combine. Chill thoroughly. Serve in a chilled martini glass, garnished with plantain chips or tortilla chips, Pickled Red Onions, and slices of avocado.
Pickled Red Onions
Makes 5 1/2 cups
- 1 pound red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon roughly chopped cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 beet, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 8 wedges
Place the onions in a medium saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Strain and set the onions aside. Combine all the remaining ingredients in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Add the blanched onions and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a container, cover, and refrigerate at least a day before serving. Pickled onions will keep in the refrigerator up to a month.
My version of this recipe:
- 250gm / half a pound firm white fish
- 1/4 cup +1Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 fresh jalapeño (half minced and half finely chopped)
- 2 tsp aji amarillo paste (or minced hot piquant pepper/ Peppadew)
- 1 Tbsp chopped coriander / cilantro
- 1/4 red oniion very finely chopped
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2Tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- corn chips to serve
- avocado for garnish
Follow all the instructions as per hte above recipe to make this.
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