We made a quick trip over the border the other day to check out an art exhibit and then went for some ceviche. Fresh, cold seafood was the perfect lunch to have on a hot day in Tijuana. Aside from making it at home, ceviche was something we ate a lot of in Peru and were really missing all of the exceptional seafood, especially their delicious ceviches. Luckily, we were able to get a taste of both Mexican and Peruvian-style ceviche this past weekend. Clearly, it made an impression on us inspiring our own blend of both styles combining aji chile from Peru and nopales used in some indigenous Mexican dishes. Together, they are a nice pairing with crunch and texture from the noples and just a hint of spice from the aji.
Ceviche: Yellowtail and Nopales
Yield: Serves 2 as an appetizer
¼ pound fresh yellowtail fish, sliced thin
1 teaspoon aji paste
1 small clove garlic
½ oz white or yellow onion
Juice of 1 ½ meyer lemons
Salt to taste
5 sprigs cilantro (chop the leaves, discard stems)
1 small cactus lobe, cleaned
1 shishito pepper, sliced thin, seeds removed
¼ small red onion, sliced very thin
Prepare the Cactus:
Wash and dry the cactus lobe. With a pairing knife, cut off the prickly needles in one swift motion against the growth. Here’s a good video that shows the process: https://youtu.be/tSWNv2Q3ju4
After cleaning the cactus, slice into ½” cubes, place into a colander and rinse with cold water. Let drain. Place a grill pan on the grill and cook cactus until they soften, making sure to turn and move them around. This can also be done indoors on a comal or a dry skillet. When they are a bit charred and soften, remove from heat and let cool down. This can be done a day in advance. Store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble ceviche.
Combine the aji paste, garlic, yellow onion, lemon juice and salt in container. Puree until smooth with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Transfer to a clean bowl. Add the fish, cactus, chopped cilantro, and red onion and gently mix to combine. Place on a platter and garnish with shishito peppers and red onion. Enjoy immediately.