Striped Bass Ceviche – Chopping the Rockfish

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,931
    Chef Victor Albisu demonstrates how to chop the rockfish.

    Victor Albisu

    Victor Albisu may have been born in northern Virginia, but he seems “born” with Latin food in his blood. Victor’s mother is Peruvian, his father is Cuban; one grandfather was a baker; and two aunts owned their own restaurants in Miami – Latin food was central to his upbringing. In fact, he doesn’t have a single childhood memory that doesn’t involve some delectable Latin cooking or other. Then he went to le Cordon Bleu. But that’s getting ahead of the story. Victor spent every summer through his teens with family in Miami, pressing his first sandwiches at age five, mastering steaks a la plancha by seven, and paying close attention as his grandfather killed, gutted, and roasted whole pigs and caught, cleaned, and fried whole fish; while his grandmother made the rice and beans, empanadas and croquettes. Back at home, his mother, a great cook in her own right and owner of a Latin grocery store, reinforced his culinary bent. In high school, Victor apprenticed with the Argentine and Uruguayan butchers at his mother’s shop. “Beef in Argentina is like wine in France,” he explains, “the style of butchering is distinctive, and the trade is highly respected.” Working six days a week, often until 9 o’clock at night, he learned not only about cutting meat, but making chorizo (sausages) and matambres (stuffed meats) and just about everything else about the Argentine meat culture. Victor’s family had always promoted a lively interest in international politics, and when he went off to George Mason University, he planned to make that his career. In five years, he completed two degrees, but after graduation it took just a few years working with international contractors for USAID to learn that the theoretical side of international affairs interested him much more than the practical. So at age 24, he sold everything, moved to Paris, and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu. He received his basic, intermediate and superior diplomas in cuisine, pastry, and wine, performing his internship at Arpège, a 3-star Michelin restaurant. “There I was living in the thick of Les Halles, keeping restaurant hours and woken at six every morning by a fishmonger yelling about scallops – I loved every minute of it.” Back in the states, Victor was hired as Executive Sous Chef under David Craig at The Tabard Inn, moving with him to La Bergerie in Alexandria, Virginia. From there, he went on to work at Washington’s 701, Ardeo, and Bardeo. He then became Chef de Cuisine at Ceiba restaurant and is currently pursuing his own ventures.

    Victor Albisu: Hi I am Victor Albisu and were making Striped Bass Ceviche. Clearly we have to dice up our Striped Bass. These are young small filets that we have cleaned and skinned. So, now depending on how you like your ceviche, I like them relatively larged dice, we began to cut it down, we dont want to see any red. The blood line although people who are like me, that are familiar to ceviche, dont mind it so much, the flavor is not as good as just a nice clean piece of fish. So, from here Ill slice in to strips, try to be mindful that we want to make them all as similar as possible.

    Okay, we are going to begin to dice it. Okay, this is how I like my ceviche diced. Same here, now I move the fish for you guys to see. So, what you want to do is maintain this in a cold bowl. In the next step, well be putting together the garnish and setting up the dish.