Last weekend I visited Maryland, where my best friend Erin lives with her fiance Nathan. My cousin Dan and his fiance Suzanne also live in Maryland, in Baltimore. I thought that I would make a big giant travel post about my visit, as it was a whirlwind trip with visits to all kinds of great sites and restaurants in the DC and Baltimore areas. There is so much to talk about, though, so I am going to focus on certain experiences in several posts instead.
My BFF lives in the Rockville, MD area. As we were driving around town, I noticed several Peruvian restaurants. We're talking, like, 4 or 5 within a 3-mile radius. I think that St. Louis and it's counties only has 1 Peruvian restaurant total (correct me if I'm wrong?) Anyway, my first night there, when discussing where to go eat, I expressed my interest in the plethora of Peruvian joints, so they took me to La Canela, which got approval up from one of their friends who is from Peru. It was my first experience with Peruvian food besides the No Reservations episode. It was inspiring... unique yet familiar and comfortable-feeling.
Tonight I decided to try to attempt to ad-lib a Peruvian dish based solely on my one visit to one Peruvian restaurant. I didn't look up a recipe... I just knew that I wanted to use certain elements that stood out to me. Potatoes were a must. Lots of dishes on the menu involved potatoes, and it is a huge crop for Peru. A lot of the dishes also had hard boiled eggs. And ohhhh, the ceviche. Now, here in the STL, fresh seafood is not really an option, so I used a frozen seafood mixture, and I cooked it instead of serving it raw (technically ceviche is "cooked" because of the chemical reaction to the acid in the lime juice, but I used actual heat to cook mine). As far as flavors... well this threw me for a loop. The dish I had was similar to a paella with lots of Spanish flavors. My friend's dish seemed to have curry-like qualities. When I looked up Peruvian flavors, I found that due to the location, the cuisine is quite diverse. So... I just kind of winged it. And it worked out well! I'm not claiming this is authentic, but I will claim that it is tasty. And quite easy!
Peruvi-ish Seafood & Potatoes
-1 lb. tiny little potatoes (or larger golden potatoes but into about 2 inch pieces)
-1 lb. frozen seafood mix (mine had shrimp, scallops and calamari... use any combo you want)
-4 garlic cloves, grated with a microplane
-1/2 medium red onion, sliced
-3 teaspoons curry powder (divided)
-2 teaspoons smoked paprika (divided)
-1 teaspoon cumin (divided)
-1 teaspoon oregano (divided)
-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (divided)
-3-4 Tablespoons olive oil (divided)
-juice of 1 lime
-salt & pepper
-hard boiled eggs
-smoked salt for garnish
-Preheat oven to 375ºF. Use your hands to toss together the potatoes, onion, garlic, 2 teaspoons of the curry powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper in a glass casserole dish. Roast for about 30 minutes until potatoes are soft but not mushy.
-Meanwhile, toss the seafood with the lime juice, remaining spices and olive oil, and let marinate while the potatoes are cooking.
-Once the potatoes are cooked, add the seafood to the dish, marinade and all, and stir to combine everything. Cook everything for another 10 minutes or so until the seafood is opaque but not chewy. Remove from oven, serve on greens, garnish with a quartered hard-boiled egg and some smoked salt.