Dear SOS: I have been enjoying the Peruvian ceviche at Ciudad in downtown Los Angeles for quite some time now. Do you think that the restaurant would share the recipe?
Dear Leticia: Ciudad was happy to share their recipe. The fish is very finely diced and marinates quickly, and the finished ceviche is bright with tang and a little heat, which perfectly complements the quick pickled red onions.
Pickled red onions
Place the onions in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Strain and set aside the onions.
Combine the vinegar, black pepper, cumin, oregano, garlic, sugar, salt and beet in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 7 minutes. Add the blanched onions and gently simmer an additional 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a container, cover and refrigerate at least a day before serving. This makes about 2 1/2 cups pickled onions, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. Pickled onions will keep in the refrigerator up to a month.
Ceviche and final assembly
In a large glass or nonreactive bowl, combine fish and the lime juice to cover. Marinate for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Drain the fish, reserving a quarter-cup of lime juice.
Combine the fish with the onion, chile, jalapeno, ginger, oil, cilantro and chile paste. Stir in the lime juice. Chill thoroughly. Drain the ceviche and season to taste with salt. Serve each portion in a chilled martini glass, garnished with plantain chips or tortilla chips, pickled red onions and slices of avocado.
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