Summer is the perfect season for the fresh crisp flavors of ceviche. This wonderful lime-marinated seafood cocktail has its roots in Latin America. It is traditionally made with fresh ocean fish or shellfish but many modern chefs have broadened the concept to include a variety of bold-flavored combinations of seafood, vegetables, herbs and even fruit. Essentially it is a collection of raw ingredients that are marinated in citrus, most commonly lime juice, long enough to “cook” through. It is a versatile salad that be served in a variety of ways. I enjoy it served as a tostada on a crisp corn tortilla as a main dish or in a small glass as an appetizer served with crackers or chips. I have also eaten it nestled in greens as a citrus punched first course salad. Regardless of how it is served, it is light, vibrant, and stunning to look at. It begs for creativity in both its composition and presentation.
I have enjoyed making and eating ceviche for many years but I have to credit my daughter, Sarah, for my most recent creation. We were discussing my lack of a functioning kitchen (update to come later) and she suggested making this dish as it relies strictly on the acid of the citrus to cook, requiring no heat source. Perfect for the chef with no stove, right?
One tip for making a successful ceviche is “Freshness!” I cannot emphasize this enough. The freshest of ingredients, especially the fish and shellfish, is essential. I suggest you read these tips, “How to Make the Perfect Ceviche and Common Mistakes to Avoid” , if you are inexperienced with the process. Opinions vary greatly on how long the ingredients should sit in the marinade. A variance of 15 minutes to 2 hrs. can be found. I personally do not like to marinate longer than 20-30 minutes as the fish gets overcooked. I then remove all the contents from the citrus and finish it off. You should do it the way that makes you most comfortable.
Jeanne’s Ceviche (Sometimes spelled Seviche)
1 lb each bay scallops and large shrimp, (sea scallops or other light white fish can also be used), cut into bite size pieces
1 c fresh lime juice
¼ c fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1-2 scallions, green part only, chopped fine
¼ c flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ c cilantro, chopped
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, cut into small dice (optional)
1 avocado, cut into small dice (optional)
1/2 c cucumber, cut in small dice (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Combine scallops, shrimp, lime juice, lemon juice, jalapeno, scallions, parsley, and cilantro.
- Toss thoroughly, cover and refrigerate for 15- 20 minutes but not more than 30 minutes for maximum tenderness.
- Drain and reserve citrus mixture.
- Toss scallops with olive oil and 1 T of reserved citrus juice.
- Add chopped tomato and avocado and cucumber, if using.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Taste and adjust seasoning and add more citrus, if needed.
A favorite picnic dish in Mexico, it screams summer freshness. I am thinking next time I might add some watermelon to mine. With the all the garden choices this season brings, the possibilities are endless. I am happy to report that my home-grown tomatoes and scallions ripened just in time for this week’s recipe. Can’t wait to see what is coming next!
I promised more on the ongoing saga of the unfinished kitchen remodel, so here it goes. First thing Monday morning the electricians came and completed all the lighting around the sink. Wow! It is really makes that area come alive. The other development is, “the stove is in the house!” That’s right it was delivered late Thursday but a little too late for the installers. So here it sits in the middle of the kitchen waiting to fulfill its destiny as a functional appliance. The promise is the installers will be here first thing tomorrow morning (Monday) and if all goes well, the kitchen will be back! Finally! I am now about 95% moved back in and itching to cook my first meal. I truly hope for all our sakes I will be able to christen the new space this week and we can cease talking about it I look forward to being asked, “what’s cooking?” instead of the question of late, “do you have your stove yet?”
Hopefully all of you have been keeping it alive on your stoves and/or grills, enjoying the fruits of the summer harvest and spreading the love, one dish at a time. I am sending my hope to fire up my stove this week and sending my love from my almost kitchen to yours.