When life gives you lemons, make ceviche

Ceviche is a traditional South American dish which is made by marinating pieces of fish or shellfish in citrus juice. I first became aware of the technique while working at the restaurant formerly known as Brio Mediterranean, now called Pomodoro Monroe Avenue. Instead of seafood, we served beef carpaccio, which involved beef tenderloin, braised on the outside, frozen and sliced very thin. The meat was finished with a spritz of lemon juice and served with fresh asiago cheese and arugula lettuce.

Years later while living in Virginia, I got hooked on a tilapia ceviche tapas that was served in a rice paper cup. Marinating the seafood in citrus yields a melt-in-your mouth freshness which cannot be replicated with regular cooking. It is a great summer dish.

My boyfriend Sean is pretty squeamish about eating raw fish. He won’t eat sushi, so it took some convincing to get him to try ceviche. He seemed to enjoy it, but I could tell he was worried. The following day, when he realized it hadn’t killed him or made him sick, he admitted it was pretty good stuff.

Not only that, it is easy to prepare, light, and there’s no cooking required. You just soak the seafood in the citrus overnight and it’s good to go. Here’s how I made my scallops ceviche, which I served with crispy corn tostadas and homemade guacamole.

You will need:

  • 1 pound of fresh scallops (you cannot use frozen for this dish, and you want good quality seafood)
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 green tomatoes
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

This dish needs to be made the day before you are going to eat it in order to allow the seafood enough time to marinate. Remove the “catch” muscle from the scallops and then tear them up into smaller pieces. Add the green tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, lemon and lime juice and let the mixture marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. I let mine go for at least 12. Before serving, add the peppers, cilantro and salt and pepper. Serve on top of the tostadas and guacamole.

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