Ceviche: a classic Central and South American dish of fresh seafood that's been "cooked" by citrus juice. We all know it, and I'm pretty sure we all love it. If you don't love ceviche, what are you doing on a food website? And have you heard of tiradito, your new best friend?
Peru may not seem like a cultural melting pot, but it has a long, storied history of immigration from Asia, which has manifested itself in some really amazing fusion cuisine. That's where tiradito comes in: it's Latin-inspired sashimi. But let's be honest, they eat tiradito in Peru, not Japan. That's why I prefer to think of it as sashimi-inspired ceviche.
I recently did a tiradito crawl through some of NYC's best Peruvian restaurants and learned a few lessons about ceviche's lesser-known sibling.
Here's really where the only sashimi comparison comes in — tiradito is typically sliced like Italian crudo instead of cubed like ceviche or tartare. You need sushi-grade fish, well-chilled so you can slice it thinly.
The sauce for tiradito is both a point of connection with and differentiation from ceviche. Fish in ceviche soaks in citrus juice to cure it until it's opaque or "cooked," and the resulting juice, known colloquially as "leche de tigre," is the liquid that you end up with. Feel free to take a sip — it's delicious. Tiradito, on the other hand, is sauced on the plate right before eating, so the fish stays raw. Where's the connection? It's the CITRUS, son! That fish is BEGGING for it. So basically, there's some acidity there, but not nearly to the level of ceviche.
This is where ceviche and tiradito are most similar. The stuff that goes on top of tiradito often consists of the same things you'd find in a classic ceviche (veggies, cilantro, corn nuts). If you're going to make it at home, this is where you get to be creative. Pro tip: a little crunch on top goes a long way. My favorite tiradito was tuna topped with sliced red onion, pickled jalapeños, cilantro, truffled shishito glaze and crumbled potato chips. Surprisingly (or not), the chips totally made the dish. I asked chef Dominic Martinez of NYC's Desnuda about the chips, and he told me he uses Wise (so basically, the cheapest chips at the store).
Where To Eat It
My first suggestion? Make it at home — the possibilities are endless. My second suggestion? Leave it to the pros and hit up your nearest Peruvian restaurant.
Find out more about Peruvian food on Food Republic: