the appetizer:

Check out the international recipes from Top Chef: The Cookbook by Bravo Media, including Moroccan Cubanos; Ecuadorian Ceviche with Popcorn Cakes; and Hamachi Poke with Pineapple Poi and Taro Chips.



Ecuadorian Ceviche
with Popcorn Cakes

Ecuadorian Ceviche with Popcorn Cakes

  • Chef: Harold
  • Season 1, Episode 9
  • Quickfire Challenge: Re-create a classic junk-food item.
  • 30 minutes, plus straining overnight and marinating 3 hours
  • Serves 6 to 8

"The fact of the matter is, I'm not here to cook junk food. I'm going to take the healthiest thing up there and make something with it." —Harold

Ecuadorian Ceviche

  • 3 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound squid, cleaned, tentacles separated and chopped,
         bodies cut into 1/4-inch rings
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Popcorn Cakes

  • 1/2 cup seltzer water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bag salted microwave popcorn, popped, cooled,
         and roughly broken up with your hands
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Ecuadorian Ceviche:

1. Put the tomatoes in a food processor and puree until smooth. Line a fine-mesh sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl large enough to hold the liquid from the tomatoes without letting the sieve touch the liquid. Place the sieve on top of the bowl, pour in the tomato puree, cover, and refrigerate overnight without stirring or pressing down on the solids.

2. Discard the tomato puree and transfer the tomato liquid to a measuring cup. Measure out 1 cup liquid and save the rest for another use.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the tomato liquid, orange juice, lime juice, sugar, onion, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook until just cooked through, about I minute. Add the squid and cook until just tender, about 40 seconds.

5. Drain the shrimp and squid well and add to the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours to marinate, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.

For the Popcorn Cakes:

1. Whisk the seltzer water, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in the chives, then whisk in the flour. Stir in the popcorn until just coated with the batter.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. In batches, drop the batter by tablespoons into the oil and fry until nicely browned on both sides, about 2 minutes.

3. Remove the popcorn cakes with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

To Serve:

Using a slotted spoon, place the ceviche in small bowls, then spoon the marinade on top. Garnish with cilantro. Place the popcorn cakes alongside and serve.

  • from:
    Top Chef: The Cookbook
  • by Bravo Media with Tom Colicchio
  • Bravo Media 2008
  • 256 pages; $29.95; hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 0811864308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8118-6430-5
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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