Summer ceviche

Celebrate seafood, South American–style.

There is absolutely nothing I love more than Island seafood — freshly shucked oysters, buttered lobster rolls, fresh scallops, you name it. After spending a few summers here, however, it’s important to learn how to get creative with the incredible daily catches we have. One of my all-time favorite seafood recipes for a summer appetizer is a shrimp and scallop ceviche.

Ceviche is a South American dish, with raw fish, seafood, and various garnishes marinated in citrus juices. The seafood is not raw, but also not cooked with heat — instead, the acidity in the lime juice breaks down the proteins in the seafood, essentially “cooking” it. The chilled seafood and zesty citrus are the perfect combination for a warm August evening.

My favorite ceviche dish is this shrimp and scallop ceviche, marinated in lime juice with cucumber, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. Feel free to get creative with it, adding avocado, tomato or maybe even some grilled summer corn for extra texture and a touch of sweetness. However you choose to decorate your dish, enjoy with some tortilla chips, white wine, and good company.

Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
Serves 2 to 4.

1 cucumber
1 red onion
½ cup of cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño (preferably red, to add some color)
6 sea scallops
6 shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 large limes (or 9 smaller limes)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Begin by thinly slicing the cucumber, red onion, and cilantro. Aim for smaller pieces, but these ingredients shouldn’t be finely chopped, as the chunks help give the dish its vibrant color.

Next, slice the jalapeño. If you aren’t a huge fan of heat in your dish, cut the pepper in half and remove the seed and vein before cutting it. These parts of the pepper have the highest concentration of capsaicin, the active component that gives peppers their burning sensation. Next, thinly slice the pepper. If your family is like mine and loves seafood with a kick, slice the pepper whole.

Onto the seafood! When cutting the scallops and shrimp, it’s important to cut them into uniform bites. This way they can cook evenly in the acidity of the lime juice. Once they’re in small chunks, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Juice the limes, and pour the juice into the bowl containing all the other ingredients. You’ll need enough lime juice to completely cover all the seafood. Add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

Cover the bowl in a sheet of plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for one hour. While in the fridge, the acidity in the lime juice will cook the raw seafood while keeping it tender.

After an hour, take the dish out of the fridge. If you want the ceviche to have more of a salsa-like finish and love lime juice, leave the dish as is. If you prefer only a hint of lime, you can drain the rest of the juice. In either case, serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!