To create a flavorful yet balanced “cooking” liquid for our Peruvian fish ceviche, we made what's known as a leche de tigre by blending lime juice, aji amarillo chile paste, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, and a small amount of fish. Once strained, the liquid was an intensely flavorful and silky-textured emulsion. We then soaked thinly sliced and briefly salted fish (red snapper, sea bass, halibut, and grouper were all good options) in the leche for 30 to 40 minutes until it was just opaque and slightly firm. To complete the dish, we added sweet oranges; crisp, peppery radishes; and chopped cilantro. We served the ceviche with corn nuts and popcorn, which provided salty crunch.
It is imperative that you use the freshest fish possible in this recipe. Do not use frozen fish. Sea bass, halibut, or grouper can be substituted for the snapper, if desired. Aji amarillo chile paste can be found in the Latin section of grocery stores; if you can't find it, you can substitute 1 stemmed and seeded habanero chile. Serving the popcorn and corn nuts separately allows diners to customize their ceviche to suit their taste.
1 pound skinless red snapper fillets, 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup lime juice (6 limes)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon aji amarillo chile paste
2 garlic cloves, peeled
8 ounces radishes, trimmed, halved, and sliced thin
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup corn nuts
1 cup lightly salted popcorn
1. Using sharp knife, cut fish lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Slice each strip crosswise 1/8 inch thick. Set aside 1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) fish pieces. Toss remaining fish with 1 teaspoon salt and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, process reserved fish pieces, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, lime juice, 2 tablespoons oil, chile paste, and garlic in blender until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. It will separate slightly; whisk to recombine before proceeding with recipe.)
3. Cut away peel and pith from oranges. Holding fruit over bowl, use paring knife to slice between membranes to release segments. Cut orange segments into 1/4-inch pieces. Add oranges, salted fish, and radishes to bowl with sauce and toss to combine. Refrigerate for 30 to 40 minutes (for more-opaque fish, refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour).
4. Add cilantro to ceviche and toss to combine. Portion ceviche into individual bowls and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Serve, passing corn nuts and popcorn separately.
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