Cook it, live it – don ceviche

Cook sea bass ceviche from Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen by Martin Morales, live it with vibrant tableware from Habitat.

Martin Morales was born in Peru but now lives in London. A cook since the age of 11, he opened his restaurant Ceviche in London’s Soho in 2012.

‘There is a Peruvian saying my great aunt Carmela taught me, ‘aquí se cocina con cariño’, which translated means ‘here we cook with loving care’. This is the motto at our restaurant Ceviche – it’s what Peruvian food is all about. The other side of what we do is sazón – the quest to achieve a perfect balance of flavours. I have spent a lifetime working on this. Like most Peruvians, I am obsessed with cooking and I love sharing our amazing food.’

Modern Peruvian cuisine has been 500 years in the making, fusing indigenous cooking with dishes brought in by migrants from Spain, Italy, Africa, China and Japan. Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen gathers all of the restaurant’s signature dishes, traditional recipes, much-loved family recipes, and new Peruvian dish creations from Martin and his team. The book showcases the innovative food coming out of Lima, the Amazon and the Andes.

‘Don ceviche is our signature dish, so called as it’s really the daddy of all our ceviches and the most popular dish we serve. We suggest sea bass for this recipe, but use whatever is freshest at market – try sea bream, Dover sole or any other firm-textured white fish.’

Serves 4

1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
600g sea bass fillet (or other white fish), skinned and trimmed
1 portion of Amarillo Chilli Tiger’s Milk (see below)
A few coriander sprigs, leaves finely chopped
1 limo chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sweet potato, cooked and cut into small cubes (see below)
Fine sea salt

Wash the sliced red onion and then leave it to soak in iced water for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly, spread out on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel to remove any excess water and then place in the fridge until needed. This will reduce the strength of the onions and help to keep them crisp.

Cut the fish into uniform strips of around 3 x 2cm. Place in a large bowl, add a good pinch of salt and mix together gently with a metal spoon. The salt will help open the fish’s pores. Leave this for 2 minutes and then pour over the tiger’s milk and combine gently with the spoon. Leave the fish to ‘cook’ in this marinade for 2 minutes.

Add the onions, coriander, chilli and the cubed sweet potato to the fish. Mix together gently with the spoon and taste to check the balance of salt, sour and chilli is to your liking. Divide between serving bowls and serve immediately.

Keep your fish refrigerated until just before using. We recommend using fine sea salt for making any kind of ceviche as it is higher quality than other salts and more beneficial in cold ‘cooking’. With any other kind of cooking with heat normal table or rock salt is sufficient.

Amarillo chilli tiger’s milk
Put a 5mm piece of fresh root ginger (cut in half), 1 small garlic clove (cut in half), 4 roughly chopped coriander sprigs and the juice of 8 limes in a bowl. Stir and then leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve into another bowl. Add ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons Amarillo Chilli Paste (see below) and mix well. This will keep for 4 hours in the fridge.

Basic chilli paste
This basic chilli paste works best with Peruvian chillies: amarillo, panca or rocoto. Many chillies can easily be substituted with others without the flavour of the overall dish being totally compromised.

Put 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Heat over medium heat and then add 100g frozen or fresh deseeded chillies of your choice or 35g reconstituted deseeded and roughly chopped dried chillies, and ½ a finely chopped small onion. Sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and sauté for 5 minutes until everything is very soft, being careful to make sure it doesn’t take on any colour. Put the contents of the saucepan into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Store in the fridge in a sterilised jar. Makes about 190g.

Sweet potato
There are over 150 types of sweet potato in Peru with varying skin and flesh tones as well as degrees of sweetness; some are much nuttier in flavour. The best way to cook them is to bake them whole in the oven as you would a potato, although they also make very good chips.

• If you are using dried chillies (such as panca chillies), dry roast them in a frying pan for 1–2 minutes and then cover with warm water to rehydrate. It may take several hours but the chillies should plump up almost to the point that they look fresh/frozen. Strain and deseed and you should end up with around 100g of chilli.
• If you are using rocoto, substitute half the quantity with sweet red pepper. This is because rocotos are very hot and the flavour needs balancing out a little.
• To sterilise glass bottles or jars, wash them in hot soapy water and place in a low oven (150°C/gas mark 2) until ready to use.
• As a general rule you can store chilli pastes for up to a week in the fridge. They will keep quite well if you decant into sterilised jars and cover with a layer of vegetable oil. And as mentioned earlier you can freeze them. A useful for tip for freezing is to put the paste into ice cube trays in tablespoon and teaspoon measurements and then decant into plastic bags once frozen.

Recipe from Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen by Martin Morales is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Habitat tableware
Lana candle; Yipsilon blue carafe; Umbria placemat; Couleur side plate; Estrella small orange and cream bowl; Freda tea towel; Talia chair; Couleur dinner plate; Murano tumbler; Estrella jug; Panda utentils

For more recipes and stylish tabletop ideas, click below…

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