This is a basic Peruvian seviche, marinated for just a short amount of time, as is traditional in Peru. At Las Canteras restaurant, the fish spends just a few minutes in the lime juice, but here we allow up to 15 minutes to accommodate those who prefer a more "cooked" consistency.
Aji limo peppers are traditional to the dish but are hard to find in the States. The habanero is a close relative, though much hotter, so be sparing unless you like a lot of heat.
- 1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 pounds tilapia or other firm white fish
- 16 limes, or as needed
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed, then finely chopped
- 1/2 aji limo pepper, finely chopped (may substitute 1/16 teaspoon habanero pepper)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for optional garnish
- 3 or 4 ice cubes
- Lettuce leaves, preferably romaine
- 1 sweet potato, boiled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 ear corn, boiled and cut into rounds.
Rinse the onion slices in water and transfer them to a colander to drain well.
Cut the fish into roughly 1/2-inch dice and transfer it to a nonreactive bowl, preferably glass or ceramic. Squeeze enough of the limes into the bowl (removing any seeds) so that the juice covers the fish. Add the garlic, aji pepper, salt to taste and the cilantro, and mix well. Place the onion slices on top of the fish, mixing them in or not, as desired. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5 to 15 minutes (see headnote). Add a few cubes of ice to lower the acidity.
To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves in individual bowls or deep plates to form a bed. Gently toss the seviche mixture in the bowl to incorporate the onion slices, if you have not already mixed them in. Spoon equal amounts of the seviche onto the lettuce leaves, including several spoonfuls of the lime juice. Place several pieces of sweet potato and corn in the bowl or plate to the side of the seviche.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro, if desired.
Adapted from a recipe by Eddy Ancasi, chef at Las Canteras in Adams Morgan.
Tested by Corinne Douglas.
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