In Latin America, cooks marinate all kinds of raw meat in citrus juice and vinegar. This preparation, called ceviche, relies on acid to denature animal protein. The finished product has an opaque, firm quality that almost seems cooked. Fans of the dish often associate it with fish or shellfish, but in parts of Guatemala and Peru, cooks aren’t limited by the boundaries of land and sea. These chefs don’t do anything unusual to their signature ceviche, but they do make it using bull testicles.
Despite a slight departure from the expected shrimp or tilapia, ceviche de criadillas can be just as tasty and refreshing. According to one reviewer, they taste like “a cross between tuna sashimi and raw octopus.” After curing, the cook cuts up the testicles into slices or small chunks and tosses them with chopped onions, chiles, cilantro, and tomato. The spicy, tangy mixture is served cold or at room temperature—just like standard seafood ceviche.
Ceviche de criadillas is associated with cities such as Antigua, Guatemala, and Cajamarca, Peru, but even there, it’s not the most popular sack lunch in town. While some cevicherias stock fresh testicles, you may have to track down the raw materials yourself, either from a butcher or marketplace stall. If you do get your hands on some criadillas, be careful about going nuts—Guatemalans say they’re an aphrodisiac.
Need to Know
If preparing or procuring ceviche de criadillas yourself, know that curing animal flesh with acid won’t kill bacteria the way heat does, so make sure to use fresh, clean meat.