"There are a couple of reasons to cook 'ceviche'," Mark Bittman explains in How to Cook Everything. First, it makes the fish more tender. Second, and perhaps more important, it's a good form of reassurance to those who worry about eating raw fish. (The larger the party and the longer the dish has to sit out, the greater the worry.)
In typical Bittman style, this recipe for mock ceviche of shrimp, scallops, and squid contains one optional instruction and four optional ingredients. Whether or not you include them, the result is still vibrantly flavored and perfect for a party. If you're feeling fancy, portion individual servings into lettuce cups, martini glasses, or ceramic Asian spoons.
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- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound shrimp (any size)
- 1/2 pound sea scallops, tendons removed if you like
- 1/2 pound cleaned squid, cut into rings (tentacles left whole)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small chile, like Thai or jalapeno, seeded and minced, or to taste (or use hot red pepper flakes or cayenne)
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 small clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 1/4 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper (optional)
- 1/4 cup diced tomato (optional)
- 1/4 cup diced avocado (optional)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil and salt it. Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about 4 minutes, or until they are pink and firm. Remove with a slotted spoon and run under cold water to chill. Peel and set aside.
Cook the scallops and squid together in the same water until the scallops are firm and not quite cooked through and the squid is fairly tender, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon (reserve the cooking water) and run under cold water to chill, then combine with the shrimp.
Toss the seafood with the olive oil and, if you like, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, for up to 24 hours. Toss with remaining ingredients except cilantro, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Stir in most of cilantro, garnish with remainder.