It’s an appetizer perfecto, gracias a la Cocina de Tatan y Santiago
Quick, easy, delicious
Cristian Mellado, or Tatan as he’s known, is early to pick me up for my much anticipated Gourmet Tour of Santiago, a 5 hour journey through the best local fresh markets, Mercado Central and La Vega Central, buying the fresh fish amongst the amazing variety of seafood, taking it back to his apartment in the El Golf neighborhood and preparing 2 dishes, Ceviche and a traditional Chilean dish native to the Mapuche (indigenous) community called Charquican (recipe later).
I rushed downstairs to the lobby of the Hyatt Place Vitacura Santiago http://hyatt.com to meet Cristian. It had been a rushed but enjoyable week seeing Santiago for the first time and eager to return to one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever laid eyes on. He’s a handsome man with salt and pepper hair and upon first look reminded me of someone in show business, maybe an actor or a singer. He greeted me warmly and I was glad to be early as I sat in his vehicle and realized I was first to be picked up.
Reaching the Central Market, or Mercado Central, after driving through the various trendy neighborhoods of Santiago where Cristian would point out the good clubs and restaurants, “This one on the left is a very very good place, the only problem is the owner is from Argentina.” I asked Cristian, who by this time had me call him Tatan, if there were any other participants in today’s class? “No, it’s just us,” he replied. The next 6 hours were priceless and unforgettable. Class does not begin to describe Tatan, a former restaurateur and owner of La Cocina de Tatan for 15 years, many of which being on the ‘most recommended’ list and Top 20 in Santiago. He’s so personable, I completely forgot to film him whisking me through these enormous markets, knowing and speaking to everyone and explaining the various kinds of seafood, vegetables and fruits as we purchased that days menu.
Tatan’s apartment in the El Golf neighborhood of Santiago (think Beverly Hills or Los Feliz) is a penthouse with a huge balcony overlooking the country club. I brought out the best sous chef in me to help and learn to prepare the dishes. Tatan used pomfret fish, an Atlantic, Indian and Pacific semi-firm whitefish with a flat body and forked tail. Harder to find in southern California, I substituted Tilapia in its place and it turned out great. We sipped wine and ate the food and it was another world. Cooking classes have been some of my best experiences when traveling abroad. Being in someone’s home and learning the food that represents their country and their culture is, to me an experience like no other. I’ll put Tatan’s contact information at the bottom and if you’re ever in Santiago, La Cocina de Tatan is a guaranteed top experience not soon forgotten.
Tilapia Ceviche x 3
200 grams of Tilapia fish cut in large dices
1/4 medium sized red onion in thin julienne strips
1/4 cup of lemon and lime juice
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
15 grams of Ginger cut into slices (about a 2 inch piece)
10 grams (1) of yellow or red chili pepper
dash of OG pepper sauce (Dino) http://ogpeppersauce.com
dash of turmeric
handful of cilantro
1/2 avocado (use the other half to make guacamole) large dices
3 or 4 cardamon seeds
salt and pepper
Salt the fish dices, add the onion and stir
add half of the lemon/lime juice, gently stir to cover
add other half of juice, pepper sauce(optional), chili pieces, ginger, turmeric and cardamon and blend..if you want a thicker juice, add 5 or 6 small crackers
blend to combine, sauce may appear a bit lumpy, let rest for 10 minutes, add to fish and onions, gently combine
Add diced avocado and cilantro carefully in order not to dye green the whole preparation. Cover with plastic wrap (clean film) and place in the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes before serving.
Place a lettuce leaf on the plate and top with ceviche.
La Cocina de Tatan
I signed up through AirBnB experiences “The Gourmet Tour” in Santiago, total cost $92.02 check for availablity. Up to 7 people. English, Spanish, Portuguese.
Enjoy! Do you make Ceviche?