Inspired by the fresh ( and I mean fresh!, like 20 minutes from shell to bowl) conch salad we had on a caribbean island last week, I combined ceviche and a colorful crunchy pepper trio for this very refreshing appetizer/salad. Served before grilled chicken, it was a fantastic opener for a great summer meal. —Molly Ward
sea scallops, raw
yellow or orange pepper
poblano chili pepper (or other hot chili pepper, to your own taste and tolerance level)
Make the ceviche the morning of the day you plan to serve the seviche. The seafood needs at least 4 hours to cure in the lime juice. I prepare the veggies at the same time, so everything is very cold when I go to combine them and serve.
Prepare the ceviche:
• Slice both the scallops and the shrimp in half laterally, then cut into smaller chunks. Place in a glass or nonreactive bowl.
• Juice 5-6 limes (using a juicer or a citrus reamer) and pour the juice over the seafood to cover. You want all the seafood completely submerged in lime juice, so use more limes if you need to.
• Place in refrigerator and let sit at least 4 hours. Stir occasionally throughout the day to make sure all pieces are fully exposed to the lime juice. The seafood is “done” when it is white throughout, and no longer translucent.
Prepare the remaining ingredients:
• De-seed all the peppers, then slice and chop into small (½ inch or smaller) pieces. Remember to use rubber gloves if needed to handle the hot chili of your choice.
• De-seed all the tomatoes, then chop the flesh into small (½ inch or smaller) pieces.
• Dice the onion.
• Mix peppers, chili, tomatos, and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with about ¼ tsp salt. (Note: Less salt is more here, but you do want the salt to bring out the tomatoes and the peppers. Just take it easy. You can add more, to taste, if you want.)
• Juice the remaining limes over the vegetable mixture, stir to blend well, and refrigerate.
When ready to serve:
• Strain seafood from the lime juice.
• Add seafood to the chopped vegetable mix and stir to distribute evenly. Divide salad evenly between 4 bowls.
• Serve cold with an icy cold beer or crisp white wine. On the porch. With some reggae in the background. Life is good.
Final Note: You can add dill or shredded basil if you wish, even fennel fronds; I didn’t have any fresh herbs when I made this yesterday and the fresh flavors and snap of the vegetables were sufficient enough that I didn’t miss the herb note.