Peruvian Tiradito of White Sea Bass

This chile pepper originated in the mountains of South America and Mexico. Because of their appearance they are often called “Manzano” which means apple chile. This pepper can only be grown in these regions at elevations above 5000′ therefore making these very rare in the US.These chiles are unique in that they are the only ones that have black seeds. They are very hot and meaty. Rocotos are chopped and used in salsas or sometimes stuffed with cheese and meat and then baked.

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1-1/2 pounds white sea bass fillets
1 Tbsp. coarse kosher salt
1/3 cup finely chopped celery with tops
1/3 cup finely chopped green olives
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Soy dipping sauce:

1 red rocoto or serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup soy sauce
orange and lime juices reserved from marinade


To prepare the tiradito:

With a sharp knife, cut along either side of the dark blood line that runs down the center lateral line of the fillet, then discard the dark flesh.

Trim away the thinnest edges and the belly flap, making sure to include the fine pin bones that reside just to the center of the belly meat. Each fillet has now been turned into 2 relatively uniform blocks.

Cut each block into 1/4″ slices and arrange them on a chilled platter. Sprinkle the slices with some salt and scatter the celery, green olives and bell pepper over the fish. Mix the orange and lime juice together, and pour three fourths of it over the fish, reserving the last 1/4 cup for the dipping sauce. Refrigerate the tiradito for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

To prepare the soy dipping sauce:

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chile, garlic and ginger into a paste, then stir in the soy sauce and the reserved orange and lime juices.

Serve the tiradito with the dipping sauce alongside.

Yields 12 appetizer servings.

Recipe from “Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood” by Paul Johnson, ISBN 978-0-7645-8779-5.