Tuesday, January 22, 2013

C - Ceviche

A photograph of a Kingfish Ceviche
Ceviche of Kingfish

“In 2004, ceviche was officially declared part of Peru’s cultural heritage (through the grand-sounding “Resolución Directoral Nacional N° 241/INC-2004”). In September 2008, Peru’s Ministry of Production further honored the traditional dish by creating Día Nacional del Cebiche (National Ceviche Day), to be held each year on June 28.”

– Tony Dunnell, About.com, Peru Travel

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More photographs and the rest of the post, after the jump.

A photograph of a Kingfish Ceviche
Ceviche of Kingfish

I am quite thrilled by the fact that we appear to be travelling around the world as we cook our way through the alphabet. This was, of course, one of the goals of this project, but really it is quite exciting to be able to say that in three weeks, we have already travelled from Israel, to France and now to Peru. One of the foodie highlights of our trip to South America last September was Peruvian cuisine which we had ample time to sample while visiting the Andean city of Cusco and trekking the Inca Trail to the mystical citadel of Machu Picchu. Peruvian food is delicious and very healthy – there are innumerable varieties of quinoa, corn and potatoes which look after the daily carb requirements, while guinea pig, alpaca and fish are the staples of protein. One of my utmost favourite dishes of all time has to be the Peruvian dish of ceviche – I became slightly obsessed with it and not even extreme lack of appetite (I know you’re thinking, “lack of appetite… YOU?!?”) due to altitude sickness stopped me consuming rather vast quantities of it. But you know, when in Cusco…  Given this recent discovery, I was excited to try my hand at preparing ceviche at home for this week’s entry.

A photograp of the ingredients that were used to make a Kingfsh Ceviche
 The Ingredients

Ceviche is a dish of raw fish “cooked”, or more correctly, cured in citrus juice and pepped up with chilli peppers. In Peru, it is usually served with toasted corn kernels and sweet potato. This recipe is by Valli Little one of our favourite Australian cooks/chefs and uses hiramasa kingfish which meant an early-morning trot to Sydney Fish Market on Saturday. I must admit that I cheated a little bit and asked the fishmonger to slice the kingfish for me! I am quite glad I did because it was beautifully done, and in the end, for a dish that looked really simple to make, it took quite a while to prep everything else – wafer-thin slices of Spanish onion don’t just appear out of thin air when you need them, after all.

A photograph of some sliced limes
The curing agent

We were pretty happy with the taste of the dish – sharp, fresh and zingy with chillies and ginger – but next time, will probably try it with some accompaniments. It was obviously quite sharp because of all the lime, and we think that it would have benefitted from something sweet on the side, like the traditional sweet potato. If we were to go down the untraditional route, we might even try it with avocado or mango (or, if we wanted to really live dangerously, both!). It was a refreshing meal and just the thing for a weekend evening after we’d indulged in a large lunch and needed something light for dinner.

A photograph of a Kingfish Ceviche
A bite of Peru

Technical Info

A photograph of a lighting setup used for limes
Lighting setup fro the limes

this was a straightforward two light setup.

The fill light was a Canon 580 EX fired into the ceiling at 1/32 and zoomed to 70mm. This brought out the detail in the knife as well as the citrus juicer.

The key light was a Canon 430 EX II fired at 1/32 int a white board that was on the left of camera. This strobe was zoomed to 24mm.

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