Friday, August 3, 2012

Scallop Ceviche

I don't think I'm alone in trying to keep away from the oven these days. Ceviche is a perfect dish to make in the summer, as it requires no stove! This popular Central and South American dish is incredibly versatile and can be used as a lovely hors d'oeuvres paired with endive or as a main course dinner. I like to roll it up in tortillas and make mini ceviche tacos. 

I've been wanting to make a scallop ceviche inspired by a Jacques Pepin recipe I came across years ago in his book, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. It's bright, colorful and fresh. I love the use of scallops versus the more common use of fish. I feel often times people are intimidated by ceviche because it's made of raw seafood. But as long as you're using very fresh scallops from a trusted source, you've nothing to fear. The citric acid from the lime juice breaks down the protein structure in the scallops, preserving their fresh raw flavor, but giving them a firmer "cooked" texture. 

At first glance, this recipe looks like it calls for a lot of ingredients, but essentially it's just a "salad" with homemade dressing. It requires nothing more than chopping and assembling ingredients. A perfect no-cook, refreshing and incredibly healthy dish for summer.


Adapted from Jacques Pepin, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

1 lb. sea scallops, well washed and cut into 1/4-inch slices (see notes below)
1 cup diced cucumber (1/2-inch pieces), from 1 peeled and seeded cucumber
15 to 20 cherry tomatoes, halved 
1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 or 2 Serrano or jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 tsp. grated lime zest
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
1½ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. rice or white vinegar 
3 or 4 dashes hot sauce  
2 to 3 endive for serving (for hors d'oeuvres)

Pat the scallops dry using paper towels. Combine all of the ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl (ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel) except for the endive, if using. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the scallops have turned completely white and are no longer opaque. Stir once more, drain off some of the liquid and serve. 

If using as hors d'oeuvres, remove the leaves from the endive and place a spoonful of ceviche on each leaf. Arrange on a platter and serve.

Yield: 6 main course servings, or about 20 to 25 hors d'oeuvres  

  • Remove the "foot" from each scallop before cutting. The foot is the little square piece of muscle that holds the scallop to its shell (it's slightly different in color than the scallop itself). You can simply peel it off using your fingers. It's tough and should be removed prior to eating.
  • Feel free to make the ceviche a day in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps well refrigerated for a couple of days.

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