If there is a preparation of raw fish that doesn’t appeal to me, I have not come across it. The amount of sushi I eat has certain friends worried about my mercury levels (please – I can’t imagine that mercury is what’s going to take me down….just seems too silly). If anyone ever told me what I’ve spent over my lifetime on sushi I imagine I’d be fairly shocked and embarrassed.
So, ceviche. At it’s most basic fish or seafood cured with citrus juice. And then you can keep on going from there. I absolutely love it—it’s just one of the cleanest and most refreshing and bright foods on the planet.
What fish is good for ceviche?
The types of fish and seafood that can be used vary: much of it features firm, white fish such as seabass or flounder (thick or thin, either works), but different types of seafood can also be used, like shrimp or scallops, as in this recipe. If you wanted to use sea scallops instead of the bay you could thinly sliced them cross-wise and follow the recipe similarly and that would be perfect. That preparation would look pretty snazzy fanned out on a plate.
But if you are using bay scallops two things – make sure they are actually bay scallops; sadly there are quite a few seafood items that get marketed as scallop which are actually scallop-shaped little bits of fish (I had a disappointing moment in Flushing Queens recently). Buy from a fish counter you know and trust.
Nantucket bay scallops are in season from the beginning of November through March, and if you’ve ever had them, you’ll know why people make such a fuss about them.
Also, if they are on the larger size, you may want to cut them in half horizontally so they cure evenly. Something about small bits of ceviche is more appealing than larger chunks.
Do not even think about making ceviche with anything but the absolute freshest fish or seafood. It just isn’t worth it. You would not use anything but the most pristine seafood to make sushi (or expect that in a sushi restaurant) so continue that line of thought here.
How does ceviche get cooked?
While ceviche isn’t completely raw, it’s also not cooked. Sounds like I’m hedging here, but what happens is that the acid in the citrus juices used to marinate the fish or seafood actually “cook” the fish. We turn to the smart folks at Serious Eats for more detail: “As the pieces of fish sit in the marinade, the citric acid from the juice slowly causes the flesh’s proteins to denature, in very much the same way that heating will. The result is raw fish with the opaque appearance and firmed texture of cooked fish.”
Fresh, easy, and bright and sparkling. A colorful blend of citrusy marinated scallops with a touch of heat and a textural shot of vegetables.Tweet This
There are a lot of ceviches throughout South America, and also in Central America and Mexico. Ceviche is thought to have originated in Peru or Ecuador (depends on who you ask, of course), and it seems to have its roots in the ancient Inca civilizations of those regions.
Ceviche is great to eat straight with a fork, or scooped up with tortilla or plantain chips. I also like wrapping a small amount in cup-shaped pieces of lettuce and eating them just like that.
And if you happen to have some left, and you don’t think you’re going to eat it within the day, you can actually tip the whole thing into a hot pan with a bit of olive oil heated in it, and give it a quick sauté (very quick – those bay scallops cook fast). Serve it over some pasta as another iteration of your scallop creation.
More Seafood Recipes to Try:
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- 1 pound tiny bay scallops
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup diced seeded tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons seeded and minced poblano pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- ½ cup minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Tortilla or plantain chips or scoop sized pieces of lettuce such as bibb or butter to serve
- In a large bowl stir together the honey and lime juice. Add the scallops, along with the tomatoes, poblano pepper, cilantro or parsley, onion, shallots, and salt and pepper. Toss and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
- Serve cold, in small bowls, or with chips, or on lettuce.
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