Scallop Ceviche with Avocado
This is one of the first dishes I introduced to the menu at Anabelle's, on New York City's Upper East Side, the restaurant where I became head chef for the first time. I don't recall why I thought to scatter blue cheese and walnuts over a squash soup, except that all of these flavors are closely associated with fall cooking. You can make this with other squash such as acorn, pumpkin, or Delicata.
This eye-catching hors d'oeuvres offer more than just an unusual presentation; it also allows you to pass foods that are traditionally plated. I first presented it at Picholine, where it elicited gasps of pleasant surprise from our guests. At home, it will do the same, and cut down on the number of dishes you'll have to clean after dinner.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled to serve larger groups.
1/4 lb very fresh, cold sea scallops (2 to 3 sea scallops), muscle removed, finely diced
PUT all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and gently but thoroughly toss. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
DIVIDE the ceviche among 12 teaspoons, arrange the spoons in a circular pattern on a plate or platter with the handles facing outward, and serve.
EMBELLISHMENT- When they're in season, from November through March, make this dish with super-sweet Nantucket Bay scallops.
The Reason - Peruvian in origin, a ceviche is a dish in which the acid in a marinade (lime juice in this case) produces a chemical reaction that is said to "cook" fish or shellfish. This recipe produces a result somewhere between a tartare and a ceviche because the scallops are only marinated for 30 minutes, a relatively short time, in order to preserve their freshness and succulent texture. The scallops can marinate for up to 24 hours.
Hass are the best, most dependable avocados. When shopping for them, select those that yield a bit to pressure, which indicates ripeness.
Image: He Cooks She Eats