I thought I would bring a little taste of summer to you through this article, since ceviche is more of a summer treat. Also, my friend Kitty from Nantucket was just here and brought some Nantucket Bay scallops, which I think are the best scallops in the world. At least I haven’t found any scallops I like better anywhere I’ve been.
There is no cooking over a flame or in the oven, but instead, the seafood is cooked in the acid of the citrus juice.
These are the sweetest scallops around and I will usually simply sear them quickly and serve them with a little brown butter and lemon or a red-wine vinegar reduction and brown butter. Since she was here, however, I asked Kitty what her favorite way to eat scallops was and she gave me this recipe for ceviche.
Ceviche is made using raw seafood. In this case, I am using scallops, but you also can use other seafood. There is no cooking over a flame or in the oven, but instead, the seafood is cooked in the acid of the citrus juice. With this in mind, you definitely want to be sure to use fresh fish. Although it will keep for a few days, try to make just what you will need. Like seafood that has been overcooked, you might notice the seafood in your ceviche getting a little more on the tough or rubbery side as the days go by. The best part of making a ceviche is that it is just a matter of cutting things, mixing them together and letting them sit for a short time, so it really is wicked easy.
As for the cutting of your ingredients, think of the dish as a type of cold salad and the seafood is the main ingredient. That means you want to cut the seafood at least as big, if not slightly bigger, than the other ingredients. If there are a couple pieces of vegetable that are larger than your seafood, it isn’t a big deal. It’s also not as important that everything is cut all the same size as if you were cooking something in the oven that all needed to be cooked the same throughout. This again makes ceviche an easy treat to make.
When you are making ceviche, it can be pretty hard to say the exact amount of each ingredient. There are too many variables to say it is exactly four or five lemons or limes. Even saying half a cup of lime juice or lemon juice won’t be correct because of the differences in tartness and flavor between individual fruits or hot peppers. It depends on individual taste, so use the recipe as a guide.
When cutting the Nantucket Bay scallops, remove the foot, which is the muscle that attaches it to the shell and cut the scallops into halves or quarters, depending on their size. When using other scallops, cut them to the size of a thumbnail. When cutting the hot peppers, be sure to wash your hands well after cutting and don’t touch your eyes.
The last bit of advice I have might sound a little wacky and unnecessary, but when you are using celery in a dish such as ceviche, you want to be sure to use stalks from the center of the head because they will be a little more tender. If you use the outside stalks and they are stringy, you might want to consider peeling the stalks before cutting.
This might seem a little much, but when you are eating a nice ceviche, a little crispness isn’t bad, but it is definitely not good when you find yourself flossing with one of the ingredients. Enjoy.
1 lb. Nantucket Bay scallops or other scallops
1 small bell pepper, chopped small
1 small red onion, diced small
½ gala or Fuji apple, peeled & diced small
3 celery stalks, diced small
1 orange, ½ squeezed, ½ diced
4 to 5 limes, squeezed
1 to 2 lemons, squeezed
1 habanero or jalapeño pepper, diced small
Salt & pepper to taste
Cut the scallops and place in a bowl. Squeeze the limes and lemons into the scallops so they are well coated and mixed together. Squeeze in half the orange. Add all the ingredients, except the hot pepper and salt.
Add the hot pepper slowly to taste and remember the heat will take a little while to disperse, so add more after you let it sit for a bit.
Add the salt and pepper to taste along with any more citrus, if desired. Let sit for 10 minutes or so in the refrigerator with the occasional gentle stir. Serve.