Norman Fierros, the new chef at the Pan Am Room at the Santa Monica Airport, has been having a good time with his menu, which he's been playing with since the restaurant reopened (new name, same airplanes) about two months ago. (Read our interview with the chef, a longtime fixture on the Phoenix culinary scene.) The tiny restaurant — eight tables and a bar over the much larger Typhoon restaurant downstairs — is comprised of eight tables and a large sit-here-and-watch-the-airplanes bar, behind which the Himalayas, etched in glass, have been reworked, metaphorically at least, into the Andes, given Fierros' new pan-American menu.
Fierros has written the menu in ceviches and tamales, moles and rellenos, which you can eat while you drink tequila and consider that the tiny restaurant, before it opened as The Hump 12 years ago, was once an observation deck. No drinking and flying, please. Turn the page for Fierros' recipe for Sea of Cortez shrimp ceviche.
Sea of Cortez shrimp ceviche
From: Pan Am Room's Norman Fierros.
Note: As with any ceviche, use only very fresh, very high quality seafood.
Makes: 3-4 servings.
1/4 pound shrimp, U12/U15 white Mexican prawns, peeled, deveined and cleaned
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 large yellow lemon
2 juice oranges
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1-2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 bunch of scallions
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 tablespoons crushed red chile pepper flakes, to taste
chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
1. Cut the shrimp all the way down the middle, flatten and cut into 1/8 inch strips and reserve. Keep chilled.
2. In a small Cuisinart, blender or molcajete, blend together the garlic, sugar and salt (if using) until creamed together completely into a paste.
3. Squeeze the lime, lemon and orange and add the juice to the garlic mixture. Crush or blend until well combined. Strain the mixture.
4. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp with the garlic-citrus mixture. The juice will “cook” the raw shrimp. Toss the remaining ingredients and reserve, chilled, until the ceviche is ready to serve, no longer than 2 days in the refrigerator.
5. Serve the ceviche with tortilla chips, saltine crackers or tequila. The ceviche in the photo also has red onions, which you can add if you wish.