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Ceviche

by Mark Broadbent

Mark Broadbent has enjoyed a food-obsessed career spanning three decades. He’s cooked in Five star Hotels, Two star Michelin restaurants, Gastro Pubs and Member’s Clubs, delivering unforgettable cuisine or acting as a consultant. London’s Bluebird was just one of his success stories. Under his creative direction, the restaurant achieved huge critical acclaim and was especially loved by AA Gill.

May 27th 2016

I admit us chefs can be a pedantic bunch when it comes to ingredients. We like to use only the best – preferably in-season, organic and locally sourced.

But the holy grail of requirements for the best ingredients is ensuring they are ultra-fresh. And this is never more important than when preparing one of my favourite seafood dishes: ceviche.

Not so much a dish as a method, this Latin American staple relies on the acidity of citrus juices – usually lemons and limes – in place of heat to “cook” seafood. If you’ve never tried it, you are in for a real treat.

Because there’s no heat involved, it’s more vital than ever to use fresh-from-the-sea ingredients, which explains why this dish is so popular in coastal areas.

In Mexico, Central and South America – and particularly Peru where the method originates – ceviche is practically a national dish, popularly served as either an appetizer or a main meal.

Preparing it is fascinating and not nearly as daunting as it may sound if you’re a novice. It is the acidity of the citrus fruit which sparks a chemical process when it comes into contact with the fish, making the flesh turn opaque and firm, just as with conventional cooking.

But if that all sounds a bit scientific, rest assured that there is a true art and beauty in ceviche, not least because of the delicate flavours it produces. A variety of ceviche seafood freshly prepared and arranged on a platter is truly glorious to the eye too.

Remember, the keyword here is fresh. So if you’re lucky enough to find a source of bay scallops hauled straight from the ocean, try this simple recipe:


Ceviche

IngredientsQuantity
fresh bay scallops, halved500g
jalepno, seeded and finely chopped1
cilantro170g
red onion, finely chopped1
freshly squeezed orange juice180ml
freshly squeezed lime juice160ml
lime, zested1
sea salt, to tastePinch
Preparation Time: 1hr 30mins

In a large glass mixing bowl add all ingredients and stir well. Cover the bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The scallops are ready when they feel firm.

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