There are some foods that just scream summer. For some people it’s hamburgers and ice cream, for me it’s salads and anything grilled. This Ceviche with Tilapia, Scallops and Shrimp is none of the above, but it too, is the perfect summer dish. It doesn’t need to be cooked, and it can be made ahead of time. I guess it is kind of like a salad in that it’s a cold mix of veggies, protein, citrus juice and oil. If you’ve never tried ceviche before, you definitely should. Right now. It apparently originated in Peru, and is now served all over Central and South America. It was widely available in Costa Rica when I went there 4 years ago, and that was where I first tried it. Now I make it on a regular basis, and I have never gotten tired of it.
Ceviche is made with fish or shellfish, or a mix of either. I’ve tried making it with salmon, but my preference is to use a white fish. Tilapia is easy to come by, so that’s what I’ve been using lately, but sole works well too. Fresh is definitely better, but frozen will work too. When you’re choosing your fish, try to find pieces that are as thin as possible. That means less slicing for you. I also prefer to throw in a mix of shellfish for some flavor.
Here’s the thing about ceviche: the fish isn’t cooked, at least not using heat. Instead, the fish is thinly sliced and and soaked in lemon and lime juice. The acid from the juice denatures the protein in the fish, essentially “cooking” it. However, the citrus juice does not have the power to kill any potential microbial contaminants, so ceviche shouldn’t be eaten by anyone with a high risk of food poisoning. The risk is low though, for the average person.
Along with the fish, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, scallion, cilantro, salt and pepper give the ceviche it’s flavor. Depending on where it’s made, sometimes other ingredients are added as well, like avocado, tomato or grapefruit.
Ceviche can be served in any number of ways. It could be eaten with a fork directly from bowl or plate, like a salad. It can be served with tortilla chips to scoop, like you were eating salsa. It can be served with corn tortillas, like tacos. Or it can be served with lettuce leaves, like lettuce wraps. Your choice, but trust me, it’s good in all of the above ways.
- 8 oz tilapia fillets
- 6 oz scallops
- 6 oz peeled shrimp
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1/2 cup lime juice 4 limes
- 1/2 cup lemon juice 4 lemons
- 1 small red bell pepper stemmed, seeded and minced
- 1 small jalapeno pepper stemmed, seeded and minced
- 1 clove medium garlic minced or pressed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 scallions thinly sliced
- 4 Tbsp cilantro minced
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- black pepper to taste
Slice tilapia fillets into 1/3" thick slices, then cut into 1" pieces. Remove shrimp tails and slice both shrimp and scallops 1/3" thick.
Mix seafood, lime zest, lime and lemon juice, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring halfway through.
Pour mixture into a mesh strainer to drain excess liquid, but still leaving it moist. Stir in olive oil, scallions, cilantro, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve either family style or in individual bowls. Can be served on top of a green salad or with tortilla chips or fresh corn tortillas.