Ceviche for Beginners: Easy Key Lime Scallop Ceviche

There was a time when I was terrified of ceviche.

A bowl of raw fish?! Cooked without heat??

I remember feeling suspicious about the whole thing.

I've never really been a fan of things that are too raw. Even today. I tend to stay away from very rare steak, only eat the cooked edges of seared tuna, and generally prefer complicated trendy Americanized rolls over more aggressively raw slices of bare sushi. Plates of tartare and carpaccio get pushed in my husband's direction. And while I'm ok with raw egg yolks when they disappear into a chocolate pudding, pasta carbonara, or mayonnaise, I prefer to not see bright yellow oozing all over my breakfast plate.

But the ceviche made regular appearances at the Latin restaurants we frequented growing up, and it wasn't long before I'd braved a bite, then two, and then entire plates of it.

Fresh, bright with citrus and herbs, and just a bit of heat from chile peppers. It was fish, but not fishy. Raw, but tasted somehow, magically, cooked.

It was an ideal summer choice, served alongside crispy tortillas or salty plantain chips.

And the truth is that as far as quick cooking methods,  ceviche is about as easy and no-fuss as you can get. At its most simple, it's simply good seafood or fish tossed with lime or lemon juice.

That's seriously it!

Then you can add herbs, spices, sliced chiles, diced fruit, nuts or vegetables...really just about anything but the base is simple.

This recipe only calls for 4 required ingredients (not counting salt & pepper), and the flavor is incredible. I love these rolled up into warm tortillas for easy ceviche tacos (add some diced avocado for creaminess) or even served with tortilla chips like a kind of entree salsa.

As far as raw seafood is concerned, scallops are one of the safest things you can eat. Tiny bay scallops are in season right now and require no prep, but you can also use large sea scallops and just dice them up.

And key lime juice is particularly special with a brighter and slightly sweeter flavor than regular limes. I juiced my own, but you can buy fresh bottled key lime juice at many grocery stores. Or just use regular limes.

Have you ever tried ceviche? Would you make it at home?

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Easy Key Lime Scallop Ceviche Recipe
Serves 4

1 pound fresh bay scallops, rinsed under cold water
3/4 cup fresh key lime juice (from about 15 key limes, or use regular fresh lime juice)
1-2 jalapenos, seeds removed and very thinly sliced (I used one red and one green for color)
1/4 cup minced chives (substitute finely minced red onion or scallions)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro leaves, diced avocado, tortilla or plantain chips, for serving

Place bay scallops in a large non-reactive bowl (such as glass) and pour in the key lime juice. Add the sliced peppers, and chives. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat well. Cover with plastic. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, and not longer than 3 hours.
Serve cold garnished with cilantro, and with tortillas, plantain chips, or chips on the side.

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