Like so many people, I love a good party. That’s true whether I’m throwing it, cooking for it, or attending it. And Cinco de Mayo is a perfect time to do all three.
My recipe for Scallop Ceviche with Jalapeno and Fresh Lime makes a great starting point. It requires, as all ceviches do, that you begin with the finest fresh seafood, bought from a reliable market. If you can’t find great scallops, feel free to substitute fresh shrimp or firm-fleshed mild white fish fillets like sea bass, grouper, or sole. Whatever you buy should have the fresh, clean scent of the sea, with no “off” aromas or discoloration.
Start making your ceviche the evening of quatro de Mayo, May 4, so the seafood has time to marinate fully. Add some oven-baked tortilla chips, if you like, and maybe a glass of crisp white wine, such as one of the great vintages now being produced in Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe (or one of the dry but fruity Austrian Grüner Veltliners that I like), and you’ll be set to enjoy a Cinco de Mayo that you won’t regret on May 6.
Scallop Ceviche with Jalapeno and Fresh Lime
- 1 pound fresh sea scallops or bay scallops
- 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 medium-sized jalapeno chile, halved, stemmed, seeded and deveined, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Radicchio or butter lettuce leaves (optional), for serving
- Fresh cilantro or Italian parsley leaves, for garnish
- With a small, sharp knife, trim any connective tissue from the sides of the scallops. Cut the scallops in into slices 1/4 inch thick.
- Put the scallop slices in a glass or stainless-steel bowl. Pour the lime juice over them and stir gently to coat the scallops thoroughly with the juice. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Before serving, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the garlic cloves and blanch them in the boiling water for 1 minute to eliminate some of their harshness. Drain the cloves thoroughly, rinse them briefly with cold running water, and then drain them again and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Finely chop the garlic.
- Drain all but a tablespoon or so of the lime juice from the scallops and transfer the scallops to a clean nonreactive bowl. Add the chopped garlic, green onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, olive oil and cilantro to the scallops. Stir thoroughly but gently and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
- If you like, line individual chilled glass cocktail cups or martini glasses or a large serving bowl or platter with radicchio or butter lettuce leaves. Arrange the scallops in the cups, glasses, or bowl, or on the platter. Garnish with cilantro or parsley leaves and serve immediately.