Conchas y Lechuga from Central Restaurant

Seyine Park

No. 4 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and considered the best restaurant in Latin America, restaurant Central of Lima, Peru, is probably the most avant-garde approach to Peruvian cuisine that the world has seen to date. Chef Virgilio Martinez and head chef Pia León take their diners all across Peru’s landscape, presenting ingredients from every corner of the country – the mountains, sea, desert, and jungle. Here, we have chef Virgilio’s recipe for Conchas y Lechuga, or “Mussels and Lettuce” – a meeting of the ocean and the land.

Virgilio’s passion and devotion lie in the incredibly diverse and complex Peruvian landscape. Motivated by this interest and curiosity, he travels to find and investigate new ingredients to introduce to the local cuisine. Although located in a bustling city, Central constantly maintains its ties to nature through its own urban garden, from which they pull all herbs, spice, and produce. In his recipe below, see how Virgilio brings together the sea and land of Peru.

Lettuce Sauce

10ea tamarillo
Peel the tamarillo and de-seed them.
Blend the pulp and pass through a sieve.


1kilo mussels
Boil the mussels in slow heat for 3 hours.
Drain the liquid.
Mix the mussel water with the tamarillo.


4ea buttercrunch lettuce
Take off the first 3 layers of the lettuce.
Sear the hearts on high heat, adding the tamarillo-mussel sauce.
Take it off the fire when it has small burns.


16ea scallops
Cut the scallops into 3 pieces.
Cover them with the seared lettuce.
Using a blow torch, slightly pass over the top of the scallops.

Seaweed Crust

150g pata de gallo seaweed
Boil the seaweed for 5 hours.
Drain the liquid and blend on high speed.
Spread on a Silpat® and dry for 3 hours at 65°C.

Granadilla Crust

4ea granadilla
Blend the granadilla on high speed for 3 minutes.
Spread on a Silpat® and dehydrate the pulp at 70°C for 10 hours.



Conchas y Lechuga by chef Virgilio Martinez. © Central.