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2000s Recipes + Menus

Scallop Ceviche with “Tiger’s Milk” (Ceviche de Conchas con Leche de Tigre)

Serves8 (hors d’oeuvre or first course)
  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:35 min
May 2009
In a country known for its fascinating, wide-ranging cuisine, ceviche just may be Peru’s national dish. Combinations of sparklingly fresh raw fish marinated in a piquant dressing (often made with ají amarillo and lime juice) are served everywhere, from the lowliest fish shacks to the finest restaurants. For food-safety reasons, we choose to gently poach the scallops, but otherwise, this version, accented by tender sweet-potato cubes, chewy kernels of choclo (a type of Andean corn), and red bell pepper, is entirely classic. Don’t forget to drink up the delicious liquid that remains after the ceviche has been eaten—Peruvians prize this leche de tigre as a hangover cure.
  • 1 cup diced (1/3-inch) peeled sweet potato
  • 1 cup frozen choclo kernels (optional)
  • 1 lb sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side and scallops halved horizontally
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (preferably Key lime)
  • 2 tablespoons pisco (preferably Peruvian)
  • 2 tablespoons bottled ají amarillo or ají mirasol paste (sometimes labeled “crema”)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • equipment:

    an adjustable-blade slicer
  • Steam sweet potato in a steamer rack, covered, over simmering water until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, cook choclo (if using) in a medium pot of well-salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl, reserving liquid in pot, and cool to room temperature.
  • Return choclo-cooking water to a boil (or use 4 cups fresh water if not using choclo). Add scallops and poach at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, until barely cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain well and cool to room temperature.
  • Halve onion lengthwise, then very thinly slice using slicer. Soak in a bowl of cold water 5 minutes, then drain well and pat dry.
  • Stir together lime juice, pisco, chile paste, and 1/4 tsp salt in a large bowl, then gently stir in sweet potato, choclo, scallops, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and salt to taste.
  • Serve ceviche on small plates, drizzled with any remaining lime juice mixture from bowl.
Cooks’ notes:
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