Pargo a la Veracruzano con Arroz Guacho

Notes: Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Red Snapper) is a classic fish dish from Veracruz, Mexico. It combines the use of olives and capers give something of a Spanish-Mediterranean flavor to the Mexican preparation. Traditionally, a whole red snapper is used, gutted and de-scaled and marinated in lime juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic. A sauce is made of onions, garlic, tomato, jalapenos, olives and herbs, and the fish is baked with the sauce until tender.

The dish is traditionally served with Mexican-style white rice but we wanted to change the rice to represent Costa Rica. We chose to make a version of arroz guacho because the flavors go perfect with the Veracruzano. One big characteristic of the arroz guacho is that it still has a lot of liquid when finished. Our version has less liquid than a traditional recipe.

Preparation: Pargo is seasoned and put into a pan with white wine, fish stock, olives, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers and glazed onions. The pan is covered and placed into the oven until cooked. Meanwhile arroz guacho is warmed up on the stove until just heated through. When the fish is finished the guacho is placed in the center of a plate and the fish on top. The other ingredients in the pan are placed on top of the pargo as garnishes.

Mixto Peruano

Country: Peru

Story: In Peru it is served with garnishes of boiled roots such as sweet potato or cassava and grains such as corn (boiled or toasted), legumes such as zarandaja, fried plantain (chifles), seaweed and lettuce. Sometimes it can be accompanied by chilcano (broth based on fish heads). In Peru, ceviche is basically a national dish with too many variations and styles to cover in a brief description.

The most common type of ceviche is prepared from slices of fish in a square shape that are then mixed with lime and salt. Fillets mostly used are corvina, flounder, kingfish, mackerel, grouper, dogfish, parakeet and trout. Mixed ceviche like the one we serve is the one that contains the same ingredients as the common ceviche, to which various seafood or fish have been added.

Preparation: Mix all of the ingredients with leche de tigre into a bowl and let marinate then place in a bowl. Garnish with corn, lolarossa lettuce, red onion and sweet potato. Finally, it is served with homemade corn tortilla chips.

Vuelve a la vida

Country: Venezuela, Mexico

Story: Originating in Venezuela and its coasts, natives of the region believe it offers aphrodisiac properties provided by the seafood included in its preparation. Mostly sold as street food in the form of pickles in a jar in Venezuela, it eventually made its way to Mexico and along the way became more of a ceviche. This version of the recipe is popular in many countries now and is the style of our version here at Alma.  

Preparation: Fresh Snapper is marinated in the tomato broth to flavor the fish. Then the fish and the tomato broth is put on the plate and garnished with Pepino, Aguacate, Chile Dulce, Culantro and jalapeno.

Atún Nikkei

Country: Peru

Story: In 1889, Japanese workers, invited over by the promise of jobs, came to Peru on work contracts. They helped to farm and build the country’s economy. Many workers decided to stay in Peru, forming families, integrating with society, and especially where food was concerned. Nikkei is a cuisine that’s often mislabeled as fusion but it runs much deeper than that. These people opened businesses with the aim of catering for Peruvians. They opened in their homes and no one did Japanese cuisine – there wasn’t a market for it, they had to cook Peruvian food but they started to add their own little touches, like taking dishes normally served with meat and changing the base of the dish to fish. Japanese chefs couldn’t get all the ingredients they needed so they had to use, and be creative, with Peruvian ingredients. Nikkei is a cuisine that has grown with the culture, slowly evolving with new steps along the way.

Preparation: Leche de tigre and Tamarindo reduction is mixed together to form a sauce and then set aside. Separately, a salad is mixed together with Chayote, Pepino, Rabano and Orange Vinaigrette. To plate the sauce mixture, salad mixture, fresh diced tuna and cebollino is mixed together and placed into a mold to make a shape. Once the mold is removed, tajin is sprinkled on fried rice paper and placed on top of the tuna tower as a garnish.