Day-Boat Scallop Ceviche
Twenty Five Lusk, San Francisco
What to ask the fish guy:
First, ask if they will clean them for you—in the US, scallops usually make it to the market already cleaned, as many parts outside the obvious meat are not the most beautiful; many are quite delicious though, such as the roe. Next, ask if the scallops are previously frozen. It’s not the end of the world if they are, but it makes cooking them a bit more challenging. You want fresh day-boat scallops. If they are from the northeast Atlantic seaboard, you found the best.
What to drink:
- Blanc de blanc champagne
Adapted from Simply Fish (Skyhorse, 2017).
- 4 sheets rice paper (also known as fresh spring roll wrappers)
- 10 day-boat scallops, roughly diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 bunch spring onions or scallions
- 2 ounces cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1/2 bunch destemmed and chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced red onion
- 1 tablespoon parsley leaves, destemmed and chopped
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and finely diced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
Turn the grill to high. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a burner on the stove.
Using a pair of tongs, hold the rice paper and pass it slowly back and forth over the heat. You will see it puff up. Keep passing it back and forth, without burning or turning it dark brown, until the whole thing has puffed; if any of it resembles its original form, it will be very unpleasant to eat. Set aside for later.
Place diced scallops in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Toss the spring onions in cooking oil and a pinch of salt. Place on your grill or a hot pan and sear each side.
Roughly chop spring onions into small pieces after they have been seared, and add this to the bowl.
Now, add to the scallop and lemon juice mixture the lemon zest, chopped cilantro, extra-virgin olive oil, red onion, parsley, and cucumber.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
In a small sauce pan, heat 1/4–inch deep amount of cooking oil. When it begins to smoke, add the cilantro leaves. Remove them after 30 to 45 seconds; you will know they are ready when the oil stops cracking. Please watch out that you don’t get splattered with the hot oil when the cilantro reacts with the oil.
Turn the heat off, skim out the cilantro, and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and reserve for later.
To plate, break the rice paper into more manageable pieces and place in a bowl. Taste the ceviche one last time for seasoning, adjust if needed, and place into a separate bowl. Sprinkle the crispy cilantro pieces around and serve. I recommend spooning the ceviche onto each rice cracker and eating them like nachos.