Originally made with a humble fish called bonito, escabeche is a classic appetizer served cold. A fried fish fillet is covered with a very tasty sauce made with aji panca, which imparts its fantastic red color, earthy flavor, and heat to this dish.
The assertive flavor of red wine vinegar is an important component of this recipe. However, I´m sure that back in colonial times, the poor origins of this dish didn´t allow cooks to use fine wine vinegars, so don´t feel that you need the best vinegar in the store to make a good escabeche. Use any vinegar you have in the pantry, but keep in mind that the red one will intensify the color a little bit. I don´t recommend the use of fine balsamic because that will give a very different a result (unless that’s what you’re looking for!).
The cold appetizer I have prepared today is the fusion of two of my favorite dishes. Causa joins forces with and original shrimp escabeche in this recipe, creating a flanboyant meal that I promise tastes as good as it looks.
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 small red onions, cut in thick slices cebollas rojas
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 fresh aji amarillo, finely sliced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon aji panca paste
- 9 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 black olives, sliced
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in fourths
- 2 tablespoons aji amarillo, finely diced
- Parsley leaves
- 1 batch causa
- Have ready a batch of causa.
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat half the olive oil in a skillet and add the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until they are a nice pink color. Transfer to a plate. Reserve.
- Put water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the onion slices and blanch for 3-4 minutes. Drain and reserve. The onion should remain crunchy.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet, add garlic, aji amarillo slices, blanched onion, bay leaf, and aji panca. Stir for 2 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the red wine vinegar and boil until slightly reduced, about 3-4 minutes. Add the reserved shrimp, stir, taste for seasoning and turn off the heat. Cool to room temperature.
- Serve escabeche over causa, garnishing with olive slices, hard-boiled eggs, diced aji amarillo, and parsley leaves.
- Serve at room temperature.