Here’s the deal. Raw fish used to scare me, except for sushi. For some reason sushi has always been exempt and I have no idea why. I was a very picky eater as a kid and nothing weird or unidentifiable would pass my lips. I didn’t even like orange cheese because it just made no sense to me. Monterey Jack was as good as it got.
Lately, however, Adam (beautiful boyfriend) and I have been eating our fish (and our meat) virtually raw. Barely searing it until it is beautifully pink and juicy in the middle. The pinker the better. Evidently my palate is changing and I suspect late nights drinking wine with Adam and watching Bourdain eat blood sausage and sweetbreads on No Reservations has something to do with it. And I’m ok with that because the way I see it, how will I ever understand a people or culture if I’m afraid to eat their food? So, the adventure begins and, yes, sweetbread is on the list. But first, let’s start with ceviche.
I’ve never had ceviche, well, because, not surprisingly, it has always creeped me out. I never believed that lime juice and lemon juice actually cooked the fish. There is a very similar dish in Hawaii called Poke (poke-eh). Poke generally involves cubed chunks of ahi, or some other fish, seaweed, Hawaiian sea salt and other seasonings. It’s more like chopped up sushi (minus the rice) than ceviche. It marinates, but there is nothing acidic in it to technically cook the fish. I once had to shoot an event devoted entirely to poke. Me and my camera, in a hotel convention room with every poke creation under the sun. Boy did it smell good.
My mom loves poke. It’s one of those foods that she’ll buy knowing (until recently) that I’ll never ask for a bite. We all have that sort of food, don’t we?
What’s on your list? Because my list is kinda long. If you’re drinking a root beer, eating rocky road anything, or sour cream/ranch, it’s all yours. I may even wander away so I don’t have to smell it. No offense. Really.
Half a pound Bay Scallops, quartered
Couple of handfuls cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 to 1/2 a red onion finely diced
1/2 cup or so chopped fresh cilantro
1 (or more to your liking) Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
About a cup total of freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice (I went a little heavier on the lime)
Half a cucumber finely diced
1 tablespoon or so shredded, unsweetened coconut
Salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (glass, ceramic), cover and place in fridge anywhere between 2-16 hours. I tasted mine after 7 hours and it was amazing. The scallops are firm and fall apart in your mouth as if they just had a good sauté or steam. Serve with corn tortillas or chips and a yummy lager or crisp white. Delicious!