Peru on a plate: ceviche

In April of this year, I spent two weeks in Peru where gorging myself on ceviche – a typical Peruvian dish of fish marinated in lime juice – became a daily ritual. The abundance of fresh seafood meant each time I ordered the dish it was different; from simple white fish selections to more elaborate combinations of plump scallops, tender octopus and fleshy prawns. Usually, ceviche was served with sweet potato, avocado and cancha – toasted corn that double up as a popular bar snack. I’d always add a generous dollop of aji – Peru’s hot-chili salsa. On my return home, I was delighted to find that recreating the dish was as simple as the locals out there had promised. It makes a delicious summer starter that, for me, brings back wonderful memories of living the Latino high life.

Ingredients

–          500g of fresh white fish (cod, halibut, sea bass, snapper) diced into chunks

–          Juice of 8-10 limes

–          1 red onion, thinly sliced

–          3 red and green chillis, thinly sliced

–          Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

–          2 large sweet potatoes

–          1 avocado

–          Virgin olive oil

Method

1/ In a large bowl, combine the fish, lime juice, onion and chilli. Make sure the lime juice completely covers the fish. Cover and leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

2/ While the fish is macerating, boil the sweet potatoes and slice the avocado lengthways. When cooked, skin the potatoes and slice

3/ Remove the fish from the fridge and discard the juice. Add the chopped coriander and a large pinch of salt 3/ Assemble the ceviche on a plate with the sweet potato and avocado on the side, drizzled with olive oil. Garnish with a slice of lime and tuck in!

Top tip: First-timers tend to leave the fish marinating for longer than necessary – in Peru they say it only needs 20 minutes and leaving it overnight  ‘overcooks’ it.

Read my article on eating out in Cusco here 

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