Ceviche for Miss Sunshine

June 2, 2010

Admittedly, there has been some not-awesome stuff clinging, like a bitchy barnacle, to the four walls of our house. However, we are weathering through and thank-you all so much for your kind words and well-wishes. Your support has been wonderful.

Today I’m happy to share some super-awesome with you. Yep, it’s not all thunder and storm clouds over here–we’ve got serious sunshine, too. Her name is Daniela and she’s a student from Torreon, Mexico. She’s staying with us until July, touring the state and helping me keep The Minxes entertained. Her twin, Alejandra, is staying nearby, so oftentimes, we’re lucky enough to get a double dose of sunshine in our house. The Minxes are over the moon, they’re so in love.

Dani and Ale have been craving a few foods from their hometown, and I’ve been having a lot of fun trying to re-create those dishes. One of their desires has been for ceviche, a salad of raw or barely cooked seafood that’s marinated in a spicy citrus dressing. We ordered it for lunch a few days ago at a sunny Boulder cafe; as soon as we took our first bites, we knew it wasn’t going to suffice.

“There’s too much filler in there,” Dani said, squinting at the plate. “You can hardly find the fish.”

“Where’s the lime?” Ale asked. “It’s supposed to taste like lime.”

“This isn’t spicy at all!” I said. “Aren’t there supposed to be chiles in there?”

Hrumph. Clearly, in order to get this right at all, we were going to have to make it ourselves. But, ummm…I’ve never made ceviche and raw fish kind of skeebs me out.

Not that the fish is really raw once it gets to your plate; the lemon-lime dressing actually “cooks” the fish, so it’s really quite safe to eat, honest.

When searching for a go-to recipe for ceviche, I decided that I really couldn’t go wrong with Reichl. The woman in charge of Gourmet magazine (may it rest in peace) certainly isn’t a hack; she knows good food. I found this recipe for Shellfish Watermelon Ceviche in The Gourmet Cookbook, and it sounded like a winner.

Juicy watermelon, sharp chiles, lightly poached seafood, and a bright kick from orange and ginger? What’s not to like?

We scooped up bites of that lusciousness with sturdy, salty tortilla chips and basked in the accomplishment of getting it right. Sometimes, there’s nothing finer.

Shellfish Watermelon Ceviche
serves 6 as a first course

1 navel orange
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) seeded watermelon
1/2 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2-3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno or serrano chile (to taste), including seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound sea scallops, tough side muscle removed from each if necessary, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound large shrimp in shells, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound cooked lobster, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 small heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated (optional)

Cut and peel white pith from orange with a sharp paring knife, then cut segments free from membranes. Chop enough segments to measure 1/4 cup; discard remainder or save for another use. Combine chopped orange, orange juice, lime juice, watermelon, ginger, onion, jalapeno and salt in a large bowl and stir until combined.

Bring a 1-quart saucepan of well-salted water to a boil, then add scallops and poach at a bare simmer until just cooked through, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Return water to a boil and add shrimp; poach at a bare simmer until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water.

Drain scallops and shrimp well and pat dry.

Add scallops, shrimp, lobster, and mint to watermelon mixture and toss to combine, then season with salt. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

Serve ceviche with lettuce leaves on the side, if desired (use a slotted spoon for transferring ceviche to leaves).

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

BigLittleWolf June 5, 2010 at 9:34 am

Fabulous! And so glad you have a Mexican student with you. (You know how I feel about making room for foreign students in the household.)

And will a Latvian be next?


Liz @ Peace, Love and Guacamole June 5, 2010 at 10:27 am

Oh I LOVE me some ceviche. Going to try out your recipe!


Amanda June 5, 2010 at 12:40 pm

This was so refreshing and inspiring. Off to explore the kitchen :)


A Feast for the Eyes June 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Dear KW,
I will trade cooking German food for you dad. In exchange my "hot" husband is on his way to your kitchen for ceviche. You see, his wife doesn't "do" sushi. She doesn't "do" fish that hasn't been cooked till done. Just send him home when he's had his fill. Looks pretty, I will say. My husband would love it. Me? I'd have to cook it a bit more till done. I'm hopeless.


Chiara "Kika" Assi June 6, 2010 at 3:38 am

Wow, look at that! I've never though of putting fruit in my ceviche, but I guess that it makes perfect sense! What an awesome recipe.


merrilymarylee June 6, 2010 at 5:33 am

Watermelon and shellfish… you are so adventurous! I'll never make it, but I'd certainly be scooping it at your house! You could tell me later than the fish was raw. :)


Shelley June 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

I really miss good Mexican food. Here in England I have to settle for Indian in it's place. 'Spose I should just break down and cook it myself. Lobster? Good job you're rich, huh? Sounds delish, though. We're just back from 12 days in Italy and you know what? I didn't go for the Kulchure – I went for the weather (hot!) and the food (heaven!). I hate my scales just now, but I can live with it for now…


Yolanda Mondragón-Ornelas August 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Hello! I’m Dani and Ale´s aunt ….Ilove your recipies and comments you make…¨

I´m going to try some … Dani and Ale tell us wonderful things about you!!!

Bye Yolanda Mondragón


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