Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chef Series at La Sombra and Julio's Peruvian Cebiche

Chef Series at La Sombra and Julio's Peruvian Cebiche

Jarred and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary by attending Tribeza's Chef Series at La Sombra a few weeks ago. It was an amazing night of food, drinks and great conversation that all took place on La Sombra's patio which was flanked by a traditional parilla that evening. 

Executive Chef Julio-Cesar Florez, originally from Peru, prepared the cebiche in front of us so that we could see him break down the redfish as well as offer up a few secrets of the dish while we sipped fresh Chilean-style piscos served up by General Manager, Raul Escobar, who is originally from Chile. He was quick to point out that they were Chilean piscos, not Peruvian, and displayed the Chilean flag in case there was any question!

Later we were served a refreshingly delicious and minty Deep Eddy Moji-tea (made with lemon instead of lime) in a mason jar and a fresh arugula and watermelon salad. A huge platter arrived after our salad with grilled hanger steak, quail, prawns and ribs with Brazilian black wheat beer and a Quilmes. The night was topped off with a Mexican Coke float made with Teo's Texican vanilla ice cream. 

We decided to try out the cebiche recipe the weekend after the Chef Series dinner. Although our knife wasn't quite sharp enough to break down the fish as efficiently as Julio, Jarred was able to follow the steps from class that produced cebiche that was firm, not mushy, with a combination of serrano pepper and citrus flavors. We paired the cebiche with Peruvian corn that we found at Whole Foods in the bulk section and black drum from Quality Seafood and it it made for a perfectly firm texture for the cebiche. 

Julio's Peruvian Cebiche
Adapted from La Sombra's Peruvian Cebiche Recipe

2 pounds whole black drum (gutted, gilled and scaled at Quality Seafood - a Texas Gulf catch!)
5 lemons, juiced and zested
2 limes, juiced and zested
red onion, thinly sliced (our garden)
kosher salt
2 serrano peppers, cut into rounds (Austin Farmers' Market)
**The cebiche at La Sombra was served with Peruvian corn, sweet potatoes and lettuce for garnish. 

After breaking down the fish and slicing it into thin strips, set aside. Remember to keep the fish cool at all times. In a large metal bowl add the remaining ingredients and be sure to rub the peppers against the salt on the side of the bowl to bring out their flavor. Plate with Peruvian corn. 

Julio also told us that you could use the juice left in the bowl to serve in shot glasses. The juice is called leche de tigre and is a menu item at La Somba for good reason. The flavors of the cebiche are concentrated into one amazing shot. He says it is not only a hangover cure, but an aphrodisiac. 

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