In addition to exploring new places, enjoying some fabulous food and drink, and hanging out with many of M’s colleagues, a small benefit from my recent travels is I get a chance to indulge in some good Food Network viewing. Before flying home from Chicago early in May we had some time to kill in our hotel room before we had to head to Midway, and so I flipped on the channel to see what offerings they would be showcasing for Cinco de Mayo. Given who was on at the time they were predictably mediocre, so I started to browse through the schedule to see if there was anything intriguing and saw that Ina was doing a whole episode on seafood. It was there that I found her Bay Scallop Ceviche recipe, and given the surfeit of rich food we had enjoyed since the previous weekend, it was exactly what we wanted as our first home-cooked meal in over a week.
Things didn’t go quite according to plan when we went to the store as there were no bay scallops, but they did have sea scallops on sale. Ina being Ina, she, of course, had a workaround for sea scallops if the bay ones weren’t available: simply quarter them! Wanting to make the dish and not having a ton of other options, I cringed and got them (bay scallops tend to be half the price of their sea cousins, so it felt blasphemous to use them here), but in the future I would hold out and go for bay scallops any day because they are the better option for this particular dish.
We also didn’t use the cucumber and avocado in the ceviche, saving them instead for a cucumber-avocado salad Michael wanted on the side, but the resulting product was still really satisfying and it was like we had two salads for dinner that night. To put it in Nigella Lawson terms, it was total “temple food” in which you want something on the lighter side that is still flavorful and satisfying but probably incorporates more vegetables than you might have been eating up until then. Now that bay scallops seem to be back in stock and still at a more reasonable price, I’m looking forward to trying them in this application, but in the meantime, you should pick some up yourself and give this a spin.
Scallop Ceviche in Lettuce Cups
Lightly adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe
Serves 2 as a main course
- ¾ lb bay scallops or sea scallops, muscle removed (if using sea scallops, quarter them)
- Juice of 5 limes, divided (note: will need ½ cup for the marinating; you may need more than 5 limes depending on quality)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup halved and thinly sliced shallots
- 3 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions, cut on the diagonal/bias
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced (about half of a pepper depending on size)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoon seeded and minced jalapeno
- 1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic (about 1-2 cloves depending on size)
- Olive oil
- Squirt of sriracha
- 1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce, washed and dried
In a nonreactive bowl, combine a half-cup of the lime juice and the scallops along with a teaspoon of salt and let marinate for an hour, stirring occasionally to evenly coat all of the scallops.
While the scallops marinate, prep the vegetables and combine the shallots, bell pepper, parsley, jalapeno, and garlic into a medium bowl. Separately, whisk together the remaining lime juice, about a quarter cup of olive oil, and the sriracha (add enough to your personal taste) and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and toss well to coat.
When the hour is up, remove the scallops from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add to the vegetable mix, again tossing well to combine. Discard or drink the marinating liquid (known as the leche del tigre). Spoon the ceviche into lettuce cups and serve immediately.