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Eat this! Tiradito: Asia meets South America in cool fish dish

 

Tiradito at Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge

Tiradito at Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge in Wicker Park.

Jose Victorio

Jose Victorio

What it is: A Peruvian cousin of ceviche and sashimi, tiradito is thin strips of chilled, raw fish doused with a zesty salsa made from citrus juice and aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow pepper, Capsicum baccatum). Unlike most ceviches, the fish isn’t marinated but instead simply dressed with the mixture, so you can think of the dish as sashimi with a piquant sauce.

Where it comes from: Marinated raw fish dishes in South America date to pre-Colombian times, when seafood was “cooked” with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a passionfruit relative). The Incas marinated fish in salt and fermented corn.

In the 16th century, Spaniards brought lemons, leading to cebiche. In Peru, that means lightly marinated, cubed, raw fish. Japanese immigrants refined it into tiradito, cutting the fish sashimi-style and adding a spicy dressing.

What to do with it: In Peru, tiradito is usually served as a first course. Its combination of cool, fresh and invigorating flavors make it an ideal dish for the final days of summer.

Between Boutique Cafe’s Tiradito
Sashimi-style tilapia in lime juice with Peruvian yellow peppers and corn
Chef Jose Victorio

Victorio, a Peruvian native, introduced tiradito with his new menu of Asian-South American-influenced dishes at Between Boutique Cafe and Lounge in Wicker Park.

To make the dish the way Victorio does will require a trip to a Latin grocery, such as Cermak Produce, for the very large-kernel Andean corn (usually available frozen) and Peruvian peppers (in jars). However, you can substitute smaller kernels cut from fresh sweet corn and use a mixture of fresh yellow bell peppers and serrano chilies to approximate the hot and fruity flavor of the aji amarillo.

3 ounces Andean corn or large-kernel sweet corn (optional)
1 fillet tilapia, very fresh
2 limes, juiced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 ounces aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow pepper), chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
Fresh cilantro

Boil the corn for 3 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Cut the fish sashimi-style into thin strips, 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide, and arrange on a lipped plate. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the rest..

Combine the lime juice, celery, peppers and salt and in a stainless bowl. Pour the mixture on top, garnish with the corn and cilantro, and serve immediately. One to two servings.

 
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