Ok, I know that title does nothing for you except maybe tell you there’s a post about ceviche coming up. But right now, as I type these words, at this very moment, I keep hearing Tequila! You know the little tune by The Champs everyone does the Conga line to at weddings? I do realize how this dates me, but hey, the song is stuck in my head and I hope it is now stuck in yours.
Anydoooo, I made ceviche. I made shrimp and scallops ceviche. I made ceviche for the very first time. EVER. It was so good and so easy and did I mention how good it was? Because it really, really was. See, ceviche is on every menu in Panama. Makes sense when you consider how readily available fresh seafood is. They make it out of pretty much anything that swims or floats. As common as it is in my motherland, I’ve always been intimidated by the process.
I served it with corn tortilla strips and platanitos (thinly sliced and fried green plantains). For some reason, the tortilla strips go really well with the shrimp bits, while the plantain compliments the scallops’ smooth texture and sweetness. I think you should give it a try, let me tell you what I did.
Ceviche de camarones y conchuelas (Shrimp & Scallops ceviche)
Adapted from Bertha de Pelaez
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 lb small scallops
1 Garlic clove
1 Bay leaf
2/3 cp fresh lime juice
1/3 cp fresh orange juice
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 tsp habanero paste
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 avocado, cubed
First, get the pickling juice ready. In a glass or plastic bowl, combine the fruit juices, mustard, habanero, salt to taste and add the onions. I sliced mine with a mandolin to make sure they were very thin, but if you like raw onions, you need not worry about thickness. Set aside
Step 2: blanch the seafood. Fill a large pan with water, add the garlic and bay leaf and a bit of salt. Bring the water to a slow boil for about 5 minutes, to allow the aromatics to flavor the water. Drop the seafood in, turn off the heat and allow the shrimp and scallops to remain in the water for 3 minutes or so. Long enough for the shrimp to begin to pink.
Have a bowl of iced water at the ready. Remove the seafood from the hot water, drain then plunge into the cold water. Leave the seafood in the cold water long enough to stop the cooking.
Now add the seafood to the pickling mix, making sure there’s enough liquid to cover most of the seafood, if not all. Since the seafood is partially cooked already, it will only take about 2 hours for all the flavors to meld, but if you can make it hours ahead, the flavor will only improve. Just give it a stir every now and then to make sure the seafood is pickling evenly.
Add the avocado cubes just before serving cold with chips. Enjoy!