Want a taste of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico? Go to Manta at The Cape, A Thompson Hotel, and order Chef Alex Branch’s Black Garlic Aquachile Clams. Or test your ceviche-making skills at home and follow his recipe below. You can also follow along with the chef while he makes this dish on Wine4Food. And to learn where Chef Branch eats off the clock (or plan your must-eat in Cabo list), watch Where the Chefs Eat: Alex Branch of Manta in Cabo San Lucas.
Mexican Black Garlic Aguachile Clams
3 Chocolate clams, alive, cleaned (ceviche-quality, meaty local clam can be substituted)
15 grams of cucumber, diced
10 grams of white onion, diced
3 sprigs of fresh cilantro
1 pinch powdered oregano
Fresh squeezed lime juice
For the Black Aguachile:
20 grams habanero peppers without seeds and stems
45 grams fermented black garlic puree (may be found at Whole Foods)
20 milliliters lemon juice
10 milliliters soy sauce
Kosher or sea salt
15 milliliters sesame seed oil
In a 375°F oven, cook the habaneros, until charred almost completely. Place in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add in lemon juice, black garlic, soy sauce, and a couple pinches of salt, and blend until thoroughly mixed. Slowly pulse in the oil. Strain everything through a fine mesh chinois, or strainer.
For the Dish:
If your clams weren’t cleaned by your fishmonger, clean them by removing the stomachs and intestinal tracks. Cut into bite-sized chunks and put into a bowl with their juices.
Mix in the cucumber, onion, oregano and juice of one lime. Add in the black aguachile puree. Serve on the shell with sprigs of cilantro and avocado slices on top, plus a lime wedge on the side.
Serve with chilled Mexican Chardonnay.