I’ve just returned from nearly a month in South America. One of the highlights of my trip was attending some Peruvian cooking classes in Lima. I had intended to rush back here and share several of the recipes we worked on in Peru on Key Ingredient. However, as fate would have it, this will be my last post on this blog. After all these years of pecking away on the Key Ingredient keyboard, the news is sorta sad (or do cooks say bittersweet?). So my first Peruvian recipe, will also be my last. I chose my favorite dish from the adventure. Tiradito.
It’s tempting to compare Tiradito to the National dish of Peru– Ceviche (where it’s known as Cebiche). Both are fresh, raw seafood dishes that have been “cooked” by citrus juice. However, Cebiche has the bold pungency of onions, and uses sweet potatoes and oversize kernels of corn (choclo) to balance the bracing marinade. Tiradito uses more subtle charms to bring the sweet, raw fish into focus.
One of the main purposes of my trip was to learn as much as I could about Peruvian cooking. The first thing I learned in preparation for this trip is that Peru has a 500-year tradition of Italian, Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese immigration mixed with the native Quechua culture. Making modern day Lima a highly creative culinary melting pot.
I also learned that most Latin cultures make some version of Cebiche. However, Peruvians claim this dish as their own and insist it was first developed in Peru. Which may explain why Peruvian Cebiche tends to limit itself to indigenous ingredients like Pacific seafood, Andean potatoes and choclo, as well as native onions.
Tiradito leaves more room for experimentation. Good Tiradito embraces its fusion roots and is influenced by Japanese Sashimi and Italian Crudo. Both feature fish that is thinly sliced– as opposed to cut into chunks or dice, as is the case of Cebiche. Onions are also omitted from the mix. The taste is intended to be more subtle and to highlight the fresh fish. Adding to the subtlety is the marination method. Tiradito is sauced just a few minutes before it’s served. GREG
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