This unusual seviche hails from the ancient city of Huaco on the Pacific coast north of Lima. Unlike most seviches, this one is cooked.
In Peru, duck seviche is often eaten as an appetizer or snack. It can also serve as a main course for lunch or as a light dinner on a hot summer night.
Make Ahead: The raw duck pieces need to be refrigerated in the marinade for 2 hours.
Servings: 6 - 8 appetizer
- 1 fresh, whole duck (about 5 1/2 pounds)
- 2 dried mirasol chili peppers or 2 to 3 dried red chili peppers, seeded and crumbled
- 1/4 cup lime juice (from 3 or 4 large limes)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed, plus 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 cups orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed (from about 5 oranges)
- 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced (2 to 3 cups)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 sprigs cilantro
- 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 1 pound yuca, cooked and cut into 6 to 8 serving pieces (for garnish; see NOTE)
Use damp paper towels to wipe the duck inside and out. Cut the duck into 6 serving pieces: two breast halves, two thighs and two drumsticks. Cut off and discard the wings, or save them for another use. Reserve the skin from the breast pieces and thighs. Transfer the duck pieces to a nonreactive bowl large enough to hold them comfortably, preferably glass or ceramic.
Slice the duck skin into thin strips. Transfer them to a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of cold water and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated and the skin is golden and has released most or all of its fat, about 8 minutes. Reserve the skin and 1/4 cup of the fat. (Save any excess duck fat for another use; it can be frozen nearly indefinitely.)
Combine the chili peppers, lime juice, salt and crushed garlic in a glass or ceramic cup and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes or until the pepper has softened. Pour the mixture into the jar of a blender or the work bowl of a food processor, and blend or process until smooth. Pour the mixture over the duck pieces; add the orange juice and onions, mix well, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Transfer the duck pieces to a plate. Pour the marinade through a fine-mesh strainer into a nonreactive container, then transfer the onion slices from the strainer to a medium bowl.
Heat the 1/4 cup of reserved duck fat in a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat. When the fat is hot, add the duck pieces and cook them on all sides, without browning them, for about 5 minutes. Push the duck pieces to the edges of the pan, leaving a well in the center. Add the minced garlic, half of the drained onion pieces, the cumin and the white pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is barely translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add the reserved marinating juices to the pan, stir to combine, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cilantro and parsley, then cover the saute pan or skillet and cook, with the liquid barely bubbling at the edges, for 30 minutes or until the duck pieces are cooked through and tender. Add the remaining marinated onion pieces, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Divide among individual serving bowls, discarding the parsley and cilantro sprigs, and sprinkle with the reserved duck skin. Garnish with the yuca and serve at room temperature.
NOTE: To prepare yuca, cut the root into 3-inch sections. Remove the bark by slitting it lengthwise with a sharp knife, then inserting a rounded knife tip under the pinkish underskin to loosen it so you can peel off the bark and skin. Immediately transfer the yuca pieces to a medium saucepan and cover with water by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low so that the water is barely bubbling, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the yuca is tender when pierced with the tines of a fork. Drain the yuca pieces. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and use a paring knife to cut out the fibrous cores; discard them. To store, place the yuca in a resealable container, cover with a moist paper towel and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Adapted from "The Art of South American Cooking," by Felipe Rojas-Lombardi (Harper Collins, 1991).
Tested by Nilar Andrea Chit Tun.
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