Ceviche is basically raw seafood “cooked” in an acid such as vinegar or citrus. We call it kilawin in Tagalog and it is a popular dish in the Philippines. Our cuisine is rich in seafood and understandably so, with over 7,000 islands and the fourth longest coastline in the world (our 22,500+ miles of coast is almost double that of the US). And so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are as many versions of ceviche as there are different ways of making adobo.
So when I saw a tweet from Chef Rick Bayless a few weeks ago that read like some mysterious secret code that looked like ceviche, I took notice.
|8oz slicd raw scallops+1c grapefrt j:45 min.Drain;blend 2/3c juice,1-2 chipotles,4 rstd grlc,2T br sgr.Mix w scal, red on,trop fruit,jicama|
As I dug a little deeper, I found that it was part of a four-week contest he was running, with a new recipe tweeted every Monday and photos judged every week. And that was how I found myself the happy recipient of a signed copy his latest cookbook, Fiesta at Rick’s: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends, sent right to my door. The book is beautiful and quite hefty, with gorgeous photography and enticing recipes like Tequila-Infused Queso Fundido, Grilled Tostadas with Chorizo, and Chocolate Tres Leches Parfaits. Fiesta indeed!
Let me tell you something about this Twitter recipe for Tropical Beach Ceviche: It was one of the best ceviches I’ve ever had. Believe me, I don’t throw that around lightly. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been eating ceviches my whole life. I’m quite picky. Ceviche has to have all its flavors spot on right from the get-go. If I taste something and start thinking the acid is too sharp, or too weak, it usually goes downhill from there. The texture, spices, and flavors all have to bring their A-game and play well together, because you usually only have a small serving with which to impress.
And impress this did. The sweetness from the hint of brown sugar and the not-too-acidic grapefruit, the crunch from the finely diced onion and jicama, and smoky heat from the chipotles, and the freshness of the tropical fruit all came together wonderfully. It was a ceviche that was unlike anything I’ve had before, mostly because we don’t really use chipotle in traditional Philippine cuisine. But you can be sure I’ll be thinking of other ways to use it in my Filipino dishes. After all, although it’s widely known that the Philippines was under Spanish rule for over 300 years, we were actually influenced more by Mexico because Spain administered us by way of Acapulco.
The photo above shows my new favorite way of roasting garlic. I was glad I discovered it before making this recipe, because honestly, as much as I love roasted garlic, I find the traditional method a pain to go through. I know, I know. It’s not that difficult to wrap a whole head of garlic in foil, drizzle it with oil, then stick it in the oven for 30-45 minutes. But I admit that I’m usually too impatient to do it and will sometimes choose not to make a recipe that calls for roasted garlic simply because I don’t want to bother with that extra step. But doing it in a pan takes a mere 5 or so minutes, and I’ve since used the same method for hummus and roasted garlic spread.
As with any ceviche, you have to start with the freshest ingredients. I’ve also successfully used frozen bay scallops for this, but I prefer the taste and texture of the larger sea scallops. For the tropical fruit, I used a mixture of ripe papaya and jackfruit, finely diced. And finally, I suggest you start with one chipotle pepper and check the heat level first before adding another one. If you use two peppers, this will be quite spicy.
Tropical Beach Ceviche
from Rick Bayless
8 ounces raw scallops, sliced
Marinate the scallops in the grapefruit juice for 45 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup of the liquid. Blend the reserved juice, chipotles, roasted garlic, and brown sugar. Mix with the scallops, red onions, fruit, and jicama. Serve immediately.
Thank you, Rick Bayless, for an excellent recipe. You really do know where the fiestas are at.
This is a ceviche like I’ve never had before, and it’s fast becoming my ceviche of choice. It’s incredibly easy and trust me, serve this at your next gathering and your guests will be duly impressed.