Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bay Scallop and Mango Ceviche – We’re “Cooking” with Acid!

Most culinary scholars, myself included, credit Peru with giving us ceviche. Although, there are many, very similar recipes all around the Pacific Rim. In fact, I’ve done a Tuna Poke clip which is really the same thing. Basically what happens with ceviche is the protein in the scallops (or any fish for that matter) is “cooked” with the acid in the marinade. Lemons, limes and other acidic ingredients can be combined in countless ways according to your tastes, but the chemical process is the same. So, yes, you are technically eating “raw” seafood (sushi anyone?) but it’s not really “raw.” The acid causes the proteins in the scallops to become what’s called “denatured.” What is “denatured?” This sounds like a job for Wikipedia!

Here is the official Wikipedia definition (which means it could be completely wrong): “Denaturation is the alteration of a protein shape through some form of external stress (for example, by applying heat, acid or alkali), in such a way that it will no longer be able to carry out its cellular function. Denatured proteins can exhibit a wide range of characteristics, from loss of solubility to communal aggregation.” Aren’t you glad I cleared that up? Bottom line; it looks great, it tastes great, you can do a million different combinations, …and you cook stuff without heat! As Rachael Ray would say, “How cool is that?” Enjoy!

2 lbs Bay scallops (or other diced fish in similar size pieces)
1 ripe mango
1 red bell pepper
1 jalepeno
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp schezchan pepper
1/2 tbl cumin
*Note: since I used seasoned rice vinegar (which has salt in it) I didn’t add any to the recipe. You, of course, will taste and adjust. Also, many ceviche recipes call for diced onions which I don’t like since I feel they tend to over-power the seafood.



gr8 recipee,mango season is coming.

Wristbands said...

There is a little South American restaurant around the corner from my house that has a delicious red snapper and lime ceviche. It's my favorite dish there.

Great clip.

Chef John said...

Yes, thats a great point I made sure to mention in the post. This is great with many types of fish. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

In the state of Sarawak in Malaysia (on the island of Borneo), the Melanau tribe has this dish called Umai which is basically a raw fish salad using lime juice to semi-cook the fish. I've tried this before and leaving the raw fish longer in lime juice does cook the fish. Other ingredients in Umai include diced shallots, red chillies and ginger. Legend goes that fishermen who went out to sea did not have any gas stoves with them so with the fresh raw catch, they had Umai for lunch. The local fish used for this dish is called the Tenggiri which, in my opinion, is part of the Tuna family.

Chef John said...

wow, great info... thanks for sharing with everyone.

dandelion said...

I could not find schezchan pepper anywhere. Is it be spelled Szechuan Pepper?


Chef John said...

yes, that was probably the same. I've seen it spelled several ways.

Anonymous said...

Szechuan is the proper spelling in Pinyin - which is how the Chinese people use Roman letters to spell Chinese words.

Unknown said...

Actually, the Pinyin spelling is "Sichuan," but most English food labels will spell it with a 'z.'

Anyway, great dish.

Sab' said...

Do you have to eat the ceviche soon after it's done, or can you save it in your fridge longer?

Chef John said...

a few hours is OK!

Unknown said...


What would you suggest to serve with this to make a complete meal?

Your biggest fan,

Chef John said...

Sorry, tough to say, it;s really meant to be a light first course or appetizer. Not sure! Thanks!

Mark aka bmarkr, my2kids said...

Refrigerate while "cooking"?

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a less messy way to cut up a mango, do you have some sort of special chef technique?

Anonymous said...

What could be substituted for cilantro? My wife does not like it.

Chef John said...

I would go with an herb she likes! ;-) (tarragon, parsley would be OK)