Ceviche de Pescado & Papas Rellenas (Daring Cooks Challenge March 2011)

crabstick & vegetable papas

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.


Post Oxford Fashion Week, my life has finally returned back to normal! No more take-away, beans-on-toast and cereal for dinner, I can now indulge in spending more time cooking & and enjoying what I’ve made (no more hovering over the sink or simultaneous emailing & eating…)

duck & strawberry

As I don’t live close to the sea, I decided to pass on the Ceviche de Pescado – have a very sensitive stomach & didn’t want to take any risks…I made Papas Rellenas which were fun but messy to make! I coated mine in crushed cornflakes and poppy seeds, I also baked them instead of frying. My fillings were crabsticks & vegetables, duck and strawberry with turmeric mashed potatoes. The Salsa Criolla complimented these potato balls nicely.

Preparation time:

Ceviche – total time, 30 minutes – 1 day
Washing and slicing fish, juicing limes, preparing rest of ingredients: 30 minutes
“Cooking” time: 10 minutes – overnight

Papas rellenas – total time, 3 hours
Boiling and cooling potatoes: 2 hours
Preparing filling: 1 hour (can be done as potatoes cool)
Preparing dough: 30 minutes
Shaping and filling papas: 30 minutes
Frying papas: 20-30 minutes (depending on how many batches)

Salsa criolla – total time, 1 hour
Slicing ingredients: 20 minutes
Soaking onions: 10 minutes (can be done simultaneously)
“Resting” to meld flavors: 30 minutes, minimum

Equipment required:

For the Ceviche:
• Shallow non-metal pan (Pyrex works great)
• Sharp chef knife
• Citrus reamer or a juicer
• Measuring cups
• Strainer (to remove juice pulp and seeds from lime juice)
• Plastic cutting board (works best for fish)

For the Papas Rellenas:
• Potato ricer (recommended) or a potato masher
• Pan capable of holding 2” (50 mm) of oil for frying the Papas (small dutch oven is ideal)
• Frying pan for cooking filling(s)
• Medium mixing bowl
• Three smaller bowls or pie pans
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Pot for boiling potatoes

For the Salsa Criolla:
• Sharp chef knife for slicing onions
• Med bowl for mixing ingredients

For the Pisco Sour:
• Citrus reamer or juicer
• Blender (can use a cocktail shaker but blender preferred)
• Liquor measurer (something that can portion out an ounce of liquid)

Cheviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):

Serves 6 as a “starter” or lunch portion. Serves 2 as a dinner.

Ingredients

2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted)*
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 chili pepper, minced (I recommend Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes)
Fresh juice only, no bottled. Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Garnish:
1 large sweet potato
1 large ear of corn
Lettuce leaves

Directions:

Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish. Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)

Wash and trim your fish. Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces, depending on taste.**

Place fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over fish. Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.

Put sliced onion on top of fish as it “cooks”

Let fish stand for 10 minutes.*** Lift fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions ,**** garnishing with lettuce, slices of sweet potato and slices or kernels of corn if using.

* It is important to use high quality, really fresh fish. You can use previously frozen (I’ve been using it because I am too cheap to buy this much sashimi grade fish), but it’s not as good. The better your fish, the better your ceviche.
** The fish is going to “cook” in the lime juice – how thick you make the pieces will determine how much the fish cooks, so keep your own preference in mind when you are cutting the fish up.
*** I have looked at recipes all over the interwebs for ceviche, and they all have different “cooking” times – I am going with 10 minutes because that’s what my Peruvian cookbook says. While I was in Lima, all the ceviche I ate was just barely white, and basically raw. I may cause a raging debate about ceviche by saying this, but I think that is most traditional. However, you can thoroughly cook the fish by letting it sit much longer – a few hours or even overnight. When I did this, it made the fish taste of nothing but lime and it was a bit rubbery, so it’s not what I would recommend.
**** The portions can vary; personally I prefer to have ceviche as I mostly ate it in Lima – as a starter, in a fairly small portion. It’s very light and a lovely way to start off before eating something else. You can also eat a full meal portion of it if you want – I think that’s too much, but if you love it, don’t let my taste stop you!

Here is a photo of a full plate of ceviche I ate in Lima – you can both see the size of the portion (it was all I had for lunch and dinner that day) and how “cooked” the fish is – this is typical of Peruvian ceviche (in my experience). The fish is just slightly white around the edges, while most of it is essentially raw.

Papas Rellenas (de carne):

Makes 6

Ingredients

For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Directions:

In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

For the dough:

Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.

Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).

Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:

Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).

Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.

Add ground beef and brown.

Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).

Deglaze the pan with white wine.

Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.

Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.

Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the papas:

Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third

Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.

Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).

Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C).

Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.

Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.

Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.

Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

Papas Rellenas (vegetarian/vegan):

Makes 6

Ingredients

For the dough:
5 pounds (2¼ kg) (3 large – 4 medium) russet potatoes
½ cup (120 ml) (75 gm) (2 ⅔ oz) cornstarch (called corn flour in some countries)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) (1/5 oz) salt, or to taste
Lots of pepper

For the filling:
1 cup (240 ml) (150 gm) (5⅓ oz) diced onion (any color)
4 cloves garlic
½ chili pepper (Aji recommended)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) cremini mushrooms, small dice
½ package tempeh, thin cut and quasi crumbled (Or you can use cooked black beans)
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 handful spinach
1 cup (240 ml) (185 gm) (6½ oz) quinoa (Or you can use another cooked grain, like buckwheat)
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten (for vegetarian version) OR egg replacer equivalent to one large egg (for vegan version)
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Directions:

For the dough:

Boil unpeeled potatoes whole until tender when stuck with a fork. Let potatoes cool.

When potatoes are cooled, peel them and either mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).

Add cornstarch, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While potatoes are cooling, make filling:

Caramelize onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook.

Add the cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).

Add the mushrooms and cook until soft.

Add tempeh and raisins.

Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add spinach and wilt.

Add the quinoa and season with salt and pepper.

Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Finishing the dough and forming the papas:

Use three small bowls (or other shallow containers) to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, combine the egg replacer and water. Put bread crumbs in the third

Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.

Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat will all dough (you should have 6 papas)

Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C).

Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg replacer, then roll in bread crumbs

Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to get both sides

Drain on paper towel and store in a cool oven 200°F (95°C) (gas mark ¼) if frying in batches

Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately

Salsa Criolla:

Ingredients

2 medium red onions, cut in half and very thinly sliced (as half-circles)
1/2 chili pepper (your preference)
1 tablespoon vinegar
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine

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4 responses to “Ceviche de Pescado & Papas Rellenas (Daring Cooks Challenge March 2011)

  1. These were wholesome balls of goodness. It was so innovative of you to use cornflakes and poppy seeds rather than to fry in oil. Your fillings are very imaginative as well. I never knew that duck and strawberry could be combined to such great effect!

  2. Even as a vegetarian, your fillings sould so intriguing. I wojuld never have thought of duck and strawberry together… Thank you for sharing your creative take on this great challenge with us!

  3. Duck and strawberry that is intriguing and I love how you used cornflakes and poppy seed as the coating ingredient. And you baked them that is amazing well done on this challenge. Wonderful work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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