This weekend we traveled to Peru to begin the fourth cycle of our Gourmet Dinner Club. Wondering what that’s all about? Read about our first Gourmet Dinner Club here.
I had plenty of inspiration for choosing this topic. First, on our honeymoon at El Dorado Maroma in Riviera Maya, Dan and I frequented the resorts Peruvian restaurant. We ate our weight in ceviche, and drank plenty of pisco sours. Then last year, my family traveled to Peru last summer. They ate lots of potatoes, corn, and game meats cooked over the fire.
As is the case for many coastal countries, Peruvian cuisine changes with the geography. Near the coast seafood and fresh flavors are plentiful and as you travel further East toward the mountains, heartier proteins and meals are more common.
We started the evening with pisco sours and puppy playtime. Eric and Jenn’s dog Clark came to visit and Sully and Ruth were loving having a friend over to play.
Alicia and Danny brought the appetizer, this show-stopping causa with layers of potato, avocado, and chicken. Alicia also made a crunchy salsa and spicy pepper sauce to top it.
I had never cooked a whole fish before and knew it would be fun for everyone to dig in to a large shared plate. It was a wild success and something I know I’ll be doing again soon. I’ll share a full recipe when I do, but here’s the snapshot from yesterday. I prepped both fish a few hours before dinner by seasoning each heavily with salt and pepper on both sides and inside. I stuffed each with slices of a full lemon, plus a small handful of cilantro. When it was almost time to eat, we preheated the grill over medium-high heat and rubbed the outsides of the fish with canola oil to prevent them from sticking. Dan grilled the fish for 8-9 minutes per side directly on the grill grate.
For the sides, the potatoes were simply roasted with olive oil, oregano, and aleppo pepper for an hour. I placed the potatoes in a large serving dish and placed the fish on top. The black quinoa was cooked in chicken broth and served with lime juice, cilantro, and chopped avocado.
The cucumber salad was one of my favorite additions. Here’s the breakdown,
- 2 cucumbers, cubed
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems, coarsely chopped,
- 1/4 cup mint, coarsely chopped
Last, but not least, is dessert. Jenn and Eric made Suspiro de Limeña, a traditional Peruvian dessert. A rich, caramel-like pudding is topped with a Port flavored meringue and sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon.
This dessert was so decadent we could each only eat about half, but now I’m wishing I had saved the other half of mine for today.
Our evening ended with games and a few episodes of The Office, and it really doesn’t get any better.