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How to make it: Santiago Fernández Benedetto's fish caldosa recipe

Santiago Fernández Benedetto’s recipe puts a fine-dining twist on a dish that started out as ceviche spooned into bags of tortilla chips. The fish needs to be super-fresh — check with your fishmonger

By Santiago Fernández Benedetto
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:21 BST
Fish ‘caldosa’, home-made corn crackers, avocado, daikon, sardine
Fish ‘caldosa’, home-made corn crackers, avocado, daikon, sardine
Photograph by Sean & Genna Davis

Serves: 1-2 with leftover sauce
Takes: 90 mins

120g white fish fillet (such as snapper or sea bass), cut into 4mm cubes
2 corn tortillas
500ml sunflower oil
Coriander micro-greens and daikon radish, to serve (optional)

For the marinade
15g cured white sardines
1 tsp spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp red onion, finely diced
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves, finely sliced
1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp mayonnaise
¼ tsp habanero pepper, finely chopped
½ tsp fresh ginger, grated

For the avocado sauce
1 medium avocado
3ml Tabasco sauce
juice of ½ lemon

For the flavour mix
skins of 2 medium tomatoes, removed with a peeler
skin of 1 Lebanese cucumber (or ½ English cucumber), removed with a peeler
½ medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
pinch citric acid powder

1 For the flavour mix, preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 2. Place the tomato and cucumber skins, onion and garlic on a baking tray in the oven for around 40 mins, or until dehydrated. Remove, then grind to a powder using a pestle and mortar or blender. Add the paprika and citric acid, mix well and set aside.
2 For the marinade, place the sardines on a chopping board. Using the flat part of a knife, mash them to a paste, then combine with the other marinade ingredients and a pinch of sea salt. Coat the cubes of fish with the marinade and set aside for 10 mins.
3 For the avocado sauce, place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until it forms a smooth purée. Set aside.
4 Slice the tortillas into long, skinny triangles. Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Deep fry the crisps in batches until golden brown and crisp. Set aside on kitchen paper to drain and cool.
5 To assemble, use a cutting ring to arrange the fish mixture on a plate, drizzle with the avocado purée and decorate with the corn crisps. Sprinkle over the powdered flavour mix and, to finish, add coriander micro-greens and layer with thinly sliced daikon radish.

Read more about the Costa Rican chef here


As seen in Issue 4 of National Geographic Traveller Food

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