I’ve been stocking our Regency RV for the trip ahead this morning. It’s hot here, but the humidity level is what seem to stir the air into a gardenia-scented soup. Thank the Lord for gardenias! Needless to say, I’m parched, hot and in desperate need of a cool down. My plan for the first night of our adventure – classic Mexican ceviche – the kind you scarf down in a beachside shack with a bottle of Dos Equis lager and extra salt and lime! Nothing quite refreshes you and takes the edge off the heat like fresh, cold ceviche. Better yet, this recipe requires zero cooking!
So, on our way out of town, I swung through my local seafood monger, the incomparable Sea Eagle Market, for some local shrimp and scallops. As luck would have it, these beauties came off the boat this very morning. So, I will not be blanching my scallops and shrimp beforehand; I’ll merely let them marinate in the lime juice for two hours. If the absolute freshness of your shrimp and scallops is in question or you’re just a touch nervous, blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes prior to popping them into the lime marinade in the recipe. Simplicity itself.
This particular ceviche recipe harkens back to carefree days on the beach in Mexico, a sense memory that will live inside me always. The inimitable combination of sea-kissed salinity, spice, bright lime acidity and tomatoes bursting with juiciness is invigorating enough to stand up to the heat and refresh your soul. It’s simple, straightforward, spicy and delicious. My biggest recommendation – buy the freshest shrimp and scallops you can find. If they’ve been frozen, their texture will not achieve the sheer nirvana that this dish is capable of, and they will definitely require blanching ahead of time.
- 1 lb. of fresh shrimp, diced
- ½ lb of fresh scallops, diced
- 1½ cup of lime juice
- ¾ lb. of fresh tomatoes
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 baby bell peppers (or Anaheim pepper, if you can find them), diced
- 2 jalapeno pepper, minced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, destemmed and chopped
- 4 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- 1 avocado, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a mixing bowl, combine raw shrimp, scallops and lime juice, unless you’re blanching ahead. Salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 2 hours. The acid in the limes will “cook” the shellfish. Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine tomatoes, shallot, peppers, cilantro and olive oil in a separate bowl. Salt and pepper to taste then set aside.
When the shrimp and scallops are ready, pour the mixture in with the tomatoes, peppers and shallots. Stir well. Dice and add the avocados at the very end to retain their color. Serve with chips.
For pairing partners, Dos Equis Lager with salt and lime or margaritas are always an excellent bet. If you’re in the mood for wine though, I would recommend a Muscadet from France’s Loire Valley. Nothing pairs with shellfish quite like this underrated, inexpensive beauty!