Latin Twist: Ceviche–Part I


Ceviche—fish “cooked” by the acid lime, lemon, and or orange juice—is a delectable treat that has relatively recently hit the menus and plates of many here in the States. Still, folks are confused by this dish. In an attempt to introduce this delightful treat to new fans, I’m going to share some info about its background, as well as a few varieties (ah—there are so many!). Okay, I realize that not all of you are fish fans, but if you are, mis queridos amigos (my dear friends), this is something you must sample! Ceviche can be found throughout the Americas, in various incarnations. I was introduced to it in Peru, where the privilege of enjoying a traditional Limeñan ceviche after a late night (of many Pisco Sours!) during fiestas, and on other lovely occasions. Since then, I’ve been a huge fan!

This particular dish is a kind of cousin of ceviche: the tiradito. (Actually, you could say it’s also a cousin to sashimi—and that’s another story!) Though I had my first tiradito in Peru, this one hails from Ixtapa, on Mexico’s west coast, though I sampled it in Monterrey. Clean, simple, and elegant, this dish goes well with a Pisco Sour, or a nice Sancerre (had one last night and can’t stop thinking about it!) and more. Make sure, of course, that your scallops are sushi grade!

And for other fun and festive recipes from my kitchen, hope you’ll check out my blog, In the kitchen with Arlen


Scallop Tiradito


Adapted from Mambo Mixers*, ©2005, Arlen Gargagliano  (*Signed copies available at La Casa Azul Bookstore–which is totally worth a visit to New York City!)

(Photos by Dasha Wright)

Serves 6 as an appetizer (2 scallops per person)

12 sashimi-grade sea scallops, cut thinly or into thirds

1 medium-size red onion, very thinly sliced

1 mango, peeled, and cut into 2-inch-long thin strips

Coarse salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Hot sauce (Cholula—optional)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

12 large tortilla chips, preferably homemade


Chill six small plates in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. Place two sliced scallops on each plate. Decorate with red onion and slices of mango. Add a pinch of salt to each plate. Drizzle with olive oil, lime juice, and a couple of drops of hot sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro. Decorate with two tortilla chips per plate. Serve immediately.



About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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