Savor Fresh Flavors With Scallop Ceviche

Recipe of the Month: May
by Chefs Kim and Edgar Alvarez owners
Avenida Restaurant

At Avenida Restaurant, we welcome spring with freshness: fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, herbs and fresh flavors. That’s why Chef Edgar Alvarez and I bring you a recipe with only the freshest ingredients: Scallop Ceviche.

It’s simple and fast to make, and incredibly delicious. Just gather all the ingredients listed, mix them together, and share this dish with family and friends as an appetizer or main course. Buenisimo!

Scallop Ceviche
Photo by TaranZ

What You’ll Need:
10 oz. fresh sea scallops
1 T. cilantro, chopped
1 T. mint, chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup tomato, diced
salt and pepper

Here’s How:

Mix 1/4 cup lime juice and 1/8 cup lemon juice with mint, cilantro and jalapeno.
Cut your fresh scallops into quarters and add to the citrus mixture.
Allow it to marinate for one hour.
Strain juice from the scallops and pour the mixture into a bowl.
To this, add onion, tomato and rest of lemon and lime juice.
Season it with salt and pepper, and serve with tortilla chips.

How to Choose the Best Scallops

Like shrimp, fresh scallops can be sold under an array of names. Here’s a quick primer:

What to do:

Thaw frozen scallops overnight in the refrigerator. Don’t use a microwave and don’t thaw them at room temperature. In a pinch you can defrost frozen scallops by running cold (not warm or hot) water over them.

Buyer beware

Just because a scallop has never been frozen is no guarantee that it’s been properly handled on its journey from fishing boat to supermarket. Choosing between frozen and fresh depends on what’s available. If you live near the coast and have a reputable seafood purveyor, fresh might be best. But a good IQF (“individually quick frozen”) scallop might be superior to a “fresh” supermarket scallop that’s five days old.

Look for scallops labeled chemical free or dry packed

That’s because scallops are often soaked in a phosphate solution that whitens them and makes them absorb more liquid, increasing their weight by as much as 30 percent. If you don’t specify, you could be paying $15 to $20 (or more) per pound for water. (Also, that phosphate solution is a common ingredient in soaps and detergents. Enough said.)

Sea versus bay

Sea scallops are larger and have a more pronounced taste, but bay scallops are often sweeter. For pan searing, sea scallops — which tend to be higher quality — are the ones you want. But for our ceviche, go for the tender, sweet bay scallops. (FYI: Bay scallops from Nantucket and elsewhere around Cape Cod are called cape scallops.)

Dry versus wet

Many scallops are packed in a phosphate solution, which keeps them moist and white. While common, this is gross, and the retained water makes searing harder. Prefer dry. Synonyms for dry include “dry packed” and “chemical free.”

About Chefs Kim and Edgar Alvarez

A graduate of Syracuse University’s restaurant management program and the two-year chef program at the Culinary Institute of America, cooking has been Kim’s passion since she was 7. That’s when her mother enrolled her in a cooking class at Bloomingdales in Jenkintown, Pa.

It was Thanksgiving time, and the first assignment was to make homemade stuffing. Kim loved the tearing of the bread and combining it with the wet ingredients, using her fingers. It was the best stuffing she had ever tasted and to this day, she continues to make that stuffing recipe for her family: husband and co-chef Edgar, and children Emma and Alejandro.

In Kim’s 25 years as a chef, she has worked in some of the best kitchens in America including Brad Ogden’s One Market in San Francisco, and the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, Calif. She was second-in-command at the Striped Bass, and head chef of Beaujolais in Philadelphia. She also worked in several gourmet markets in Philadelphia including Gerard’s and Patina.

Kim and Edgar are now the owners of Philadelphia’s Avenida, where they are building a reputation as the go-to spot for fabulous Latin American cuisine in a family-friendly environment.

Have questions? Send Kim and Edgar an email.