Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
This Scallop Ceviche, with its tingling, citrusy, and a touch boozy marinade, is my answer to the 5-ingredient challenge on Foodies+ for the month of July (2018).
Foodies+ is a food community that I run on
Google+ Facebook, along with 5 moderators. It has over 300 000 members located all over the world, and has been around since December 2012.
We have regular monthly themes and challenges in the community, Christmas Swaps, and even tutorial type themes run by our experienced members or moderators. This 5-ingredient challenge was something that had been tossed about in the community, and we finally got it running.
Just 5 ingredients. Interestingly, for some people, the restriction made it easy, for others, cooking within those tight parameters posed a real problem. I’m looking forward to what recipes come in, with just over a week to go, lots of people are planning to post this week.
The 5 ingredients are:
- One type of seafood
- A fruit
- A herb
- Chilli (pepper)
- One type of alcohol or fruit juice
Vegetarians can replace the seafood with a single ingredient of their choice.
Just 5 ingredients. Nothing else, but salt, pepper and any fat.
I think that straight off the bat, I knew I was going to make a ceviche. Because I love the damn stuff. And it fit the requirements. Ceviche always makes an appearance on my business lunch menus, even in the winter. The clients seem to love them. On this site, I have 2 recipes: Larb Salmon Ceviche and Swordfish, Raspberry and Ají Limo Ceviche.
What is Ceviche?
Pronounced suh-vee-chay (or suh-bee-chay in Spain), this is a dish of raw fish or seafood cured in citrus juice, whether lime or lemon, and flavoured with herbs and chilli.
Ceviche is of Latin American in origin; exactly where is a contentious issue, but many will agree that Peru is where it originated.
It’s considered the national dish of Peru and it is the term “Peruvian ceviche” that we hear of often. Not Chilean, Bolivian, Cuban, et al. The Peruvians are very fussy about other folks making up a ceviche and calling it Peruvian! Can you blame them?
My first taste of ceviche was actually on a small island in the Philippines, in the early 90s on one of my SCUBA diving trips; an experience I thoroughly enjoyed.
Filipino food has a huge Spanish and Latin American influence, having formed part of Spain’s past foreign empire known as “New Spain”, which is the central and southern part of Mexico, today.
So, when I first started thinking of the recipe, it was a toss between prawns (shrimps) and scallops. In the end, I decided on scallops and was planning on slicing them up thinly for a classy presentation. As I am restricted on the number of ingredients, which meant I couldn’t bulk up the recipe, the final look had to be simple. But classy.
So this was my final choice:
- One type of seafood – scallops
- A fruit – limes, for the juice
- A herb – spring onions/scallions
- Chilli (pepper) – red chilli
- One type of alcohol or fruit juice – raspberry gin (because I have some homemade, although a good quality London Dry will do too)
Our 5 Scallop Ceviche Ingredients
Scallops, the seafood
I get my groceries delivered 2-3 times a week. When it arrived today, the king scallops that I’d ordered for our scallop ceviche had been substituted for Peruvian scallops. Technically, it was perfect, ceviche being latin American and all that. But aesthetically, they weren’t big enough for me to slice up into thin discs.
Sigh. So, I decided to chop the scallops up instead, and serve our scallop ceviche in shot glasses. Photo wise, it certainly worked. But remember, if you want to slice up your scallops in rounds, you need King scallops for a more effective look. And, always get the freshest seafood you can find when making ceviche.
For this recipe, I’m going for roughly, 3 King scallops per person. It’s a pretty small amount, as we don’t have the luxury of other ingredients in this challenge. It’s meant to be a starter, anyway, or an amuse-bouche. And you know the saying,
less is more.
Lime juice, Spring Onions (Scallions), Red Chilli
- I only ever make ceviche with lime juice, as I much prefer the sharper, sweeter flavour of limes. So that was easy.
- The spring onion was also a natural complement to the lime juice, as it is less intrusive than coriander leaves (cilantro).
- And the red chilli was for colour, flavour and a little heat.
Raspberry Gin – the alcohol
If truth be told, I started out with tequila, vodka or Cointreau in my head; the 3 spirits I love cooking and baking with. But when I settled on scallops, I thought gin, with its complex juniper and grassy flavours, might be a better accompaniment.
Then I started thinking about the raspberry gin I made recently, and wondered whether the slight fruity and floral sweetness might go well with our scallops.
So I started the whole scallop ceviche recipe with the marinade. I tend to, anyway, when making the recipe, as it allows the marinade to mature slightly. I got 2 bowls, and made 2 portions of marinade, one with regular London dry gin, the other with the homemade raspberry gin.
Oh man, it was lick the spoon, again and again, then rub it all over myself, type of delicious!
Which one? Both!
But the raspberry gin marinade just nudged the regular gin ever so slightly out of the way. That means, you can use any good quality London Dry Gin for this. I couldn’t wait to taste the final leche de tigre!
What is Leche de Tigre?
Leche de tigre is the marinade sauce or milk that you get after making a ceviche, after the seafood’s been mixed in. Some serve it along with the fish, as in our shot glass here, some serve it separately in a glass.
And each Peruvian chef has his own recipe. I know a Peruvian chef of Japanese ancestry (there are many Japanese in Peru) who uses dashi to make his ceviche. Dashi is Japanese stock. His leche de tigre is simply exquisite!
I never doubted that our scallop ceviche was going to be good. Ceviches are really so easy to make; if you don’t go overboard with the number of adornments playing second fiddle, it is always going to be sublime.
Don’t like Raw Seafood?
Lightly sauté the scallops in a small amount of flavourless oil, then pour the marinade all over. Easy peasy,
lemon lime squeezy!
Are you a fan of ceviche? Do let me know with a comment below.
So, shall we get our aprons on?
If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!
And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor.
Scallop Ceviche (a 5-ingredient Ceviche)
- 12 King scallops
- 2 spring onions scallions
- ½ – 1 red chilli
- juice of 2 limes
- 1½ Tbsp Raspberry Gin or good quality London Dry Gin
- generous pinch of salt
- some freshly ground black pepper
- Slice the spring onions thinly and place in a medium-sized bowl. Leave a few of the green bits aside, as a garnish, about 3 per glass.
- Chop up the chilli into tiny pieces and add to the bowl, also keeping a small amount for garnish.
- Squeeze the lime juice into the bowl.
- Add the gin to the bowl too.
- Now season with the salt and just a very light sprinkling of black pepper. Mix, and taste it. Add more salt, if necessary.
- Now, chop up your scallops into tiny bite sized pieces and add to the bowl. Give it a good stir and serve up in shot glasses or cocktail glasses. Finish with the spring onion and chilli garnish, that we set aside earlier.