We celebrated Shelby’s birthday last evening. When I asked her what she’d like for dinner she said “one of Dad’s amazing Ribeye steaks.” To which he gladly obliged. I wanted to come up with a fun and light appetizer to start us off. I remembered a time when Shelby and I met for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in town. As soon as we sat down she said “you’ve got to try their Ceviche.” I had no idea she shared my love for this chilled seafood salad.
While there are many variations of ceviche my goal was to make one that was colorful and festive. I chose a nice piece of halibut and built from there. When selecting seafood for ceviche, choose the freshest possible and don’t be afraid to ask to smell it before you buy it. Fresh fish does not smell fishy.
To begin, cut the halibut into small cubes and marinate it in lime juice with Serrano peppers, minced garlic and fresh cilantro for about 4 hours. In that time the fish will ‘cook’ in the lime juice, where it will become firm and bright white.
We debated the whole cold cooked thing. B wasn’t too keen on eating raw white fish….until he tasted the Ceviche. He then agreed that it was indeed….not raw. Although we still couldn’t get him to call it cooked.
When the fish is done, drain and discard the marinade. Combine it with a variety of diced veggies such as cucumber, tomato, yellow bell pepper, avocado, Serrano peppers, Fresno peppers, red onion, and fresh cilantro.
I also wanted to add shrimp and scallops to our ceviche. After reading about a dozen articles on shellfish ceviche I went with the majority and quickly blanched the shrimp and scallops for one minute before adding them to the marinade. If I were getting the shellfish fresh off the shrimp boat I’d skip that step.
Everything is then tossed in a dressing of olive oil, lime juice and lots of fresh cilantro. Once chilled well, we served the Ceviche in avocado bowls with corn tortilla chips. This is a perfect summer appetizer. It’s so refreshing with the crisp veggies, bursts of fresh lime and a wonderful assortment of seafood. Here’s another dish that lends itself to recipe creativity by simply changing up the ingredients or dressing. Enjoy!
- 1 4-ounce halibut filet
- 4 large sea scallops
- 6 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 - 7 limes
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 Serrano pepper, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup, plus 2 Tbl. chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup diced cucumber
- ¼ cup diced Roma tomato
- ¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 1 Fresno pepper, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 avocados
- corn tortilla chips to serve
- Cut halibut into ½-inch cubes. Place in non-reactive bowl (stainless steel or glass) with 1 tsp. minced garlic, 8-10 slices Serrano pepper, 2 Tbl. fresh chopped cilantro and enough fresh lime juice to cover fish completely (about 4 limes). Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours. Drain and discard marinade.
- Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to boil and blanch shrimp and scallops for one minute. Drain and rinse under cool water. Cut each shrimp into 2-3 pieces and dice scallops.
- Combine cold cooked halibut with shrimp, scallops, diced veggies and ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro. In a small bowl whisk together ¼ cup olive oil with 4 Tbl. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes). Pour onto ceviche and toss to combine. Chill well, about 30 minutes.
- To serve, cut avocados in half, discard pits. Scoop out some of the flesh, dice and add to ceviche. Fill avocado bowls with ceviche and serve with corn tortilla chips.
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