I don’t tend to make fancy food much and because scallops are pricey, they count as fancy in my book. However, after a trip to the Maritimes last summer where I tried scallops for the very first time, I just couldn’t get them out of my head. When it came to making a nice celebratory dinner, I figured scallops were worth the splurge.
I didn’t want a recipe that was too heavy with butter or cream, so I decided to make a twist on ceviche. Ceviches usually rely on lemon or lime juice to cook the raw fish, but a recipe found in Gourmet for a grilled scallop ceviche sounded ideal. And it was. It’s full of bright, citrus flavours and the cucumber here is very refreshing against the jalapeño heat. It’s the kind of meal you’d want to eat lots of in the summer, you know, in between your yacht sailings and Prada shopping sprees. And while this meal feels fancy, it’s actually not such a big spend. The recipe only uses 8 large sea scallops and when you think about the cost of eating out, a nice meal in with a bottle of wine is pretty affordable (but go on and strap on some heels for the occasion).
Tip: Are you starting from frozen scallops? Use the cold water method to defrost rather than slowly defrosting in the fridge. Put your scallops into a ziplock bag, place bag into a bowl and slowly run cold water from your tap over the scallops until they thaw. Depending on the size of your seafood, this could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. This way results in very fresh tasting scallops and this way your seafood doesn’t get swamped with water. This quick thaw method works well for shrimp as well.
grilled scallop ceviche
(recipe adapted from Gourmet)
6-8 large sea scallops
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 small orange
2 T fresh lime juice
3/4 English cucumber, seeded and diced
1/4 of a red onion, finely diced
1-2 jalapeños, seeds removed, minced
1. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper and brush lightly with a bit of olive oil before adding them to a hot grill pan. Grill until marks appear (about 1-2 minutes) and flip repeating the process. Scallops don’t need to be fully cooked as they will fully cook in the lime juice later. Remove from pan immediately and set aside to cool.
2. Cut away the peel from the orange using a sharp paring knife. Cut segments free from their membranes and then dice. Add oranges, cucumber, red onion, jalapeños and any remaining orange juice into a medium sized bowl.
3. If your scallops are large & you want to be thrifty like me, slice the scallops in half on their sides so that 1 scallop is now 2 coin-shaped scallops (rather than cutting them in half width wise). Add the scallops to the bowl and squeeze lime juice over everything. Sprinkle salt and pepper over top and gently toss. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.