Angus An’s recipe for Scallop Ceviche

By / Premium Content / December 19th, 2021 / Like

IT’S QUITE RARE TO FIND raw preparations of seafood in Thai cuisine, except in seaside villages where the ultra-fresh seafood is beautifully accented with nahm jim, thinly sliced garlic, and fresh coriander. I especially like this recipe because it shows off the beautiful shellfish available here on Canada’s west coast; my absolute favorites are bay scallops from Qualicum Beach. These gorgeous plump scallops can grow up to 2 inches in size, and the shells are often larger than my hands. We prefer to buy them live and shuck them ourselves at the restaurant to ensure utmost freshness. If live scallops are unavailable, IQF (individually quick frozen) scallops from Hokkaido or Maine are also good.

SERVES 4 • PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES • ASSEMBLE TIME: 10 MINUTES

Ingredients:

4-8 large live bay scallops, or IQF scallops (see tip)

2-4 Tbsp Seafood Nahm Jim (page 132)

2 Tbsp finely sliced lemongrass, to garnish

2 Tbsp finely sliced fresh long-leaf coriander, to garnish

1 Tbsp finely julienned Makrut lime leaves, to garnish

Few sprigs of fresh coriander, to garnish

2-4 Tbsp cured salmon roe or sustainable caviar (see tip on page 48), to garnish (optional)

Edible flowers, to garnish (optional) 2 Tbsp Fried Shallots (page 235), to garnish

Method:

  • Clean the scallop shells with a brush to remove all sand and dirt. The shells will be used as presentation and serving pieces.
  • Using a flexible palette knife, pry open the two shells slightly, wide enough to stick in your thumb. The tension from the shells might feel uncomfortable, but it will be brief. Insert the palette knife and scrape the inside of the top flat shell until you separate the flesh from the shell.  Open the flat top completely and flex the palette knife while scraping the bottom bowl-shaped shell. Once the flesh is completely dislodged from the shell, set it aside in a bowl on ice. Scrape the inside of the shells clean and wash them thoroughly; reserve for serving.
  • To trim the scallop meat, remove the outer mantle and the liver (black piece), keeping the flesh (muscle) and the roe (orange piece). For this recipe, only the muscle is needed; however, the roe is a tasty piece to incorporate into the ceviche should you feel adventurous.
  • Slice each scallop into four wedges. Place the scallop wedges back onto the shells and dress each with about ½ tablespoon nahm jim.
  • Garnish with lemongrass, long-leaf coriander, Makrut lime leaves, and coriander sprigs. I also like to serve it with cured salmon roe and an edible flower. Sprinkle the fried shallots on last for texture. Serve immediately.

Tips:

When picking out live scallops from your local fishmonger, choose the heavier ones with closed shells. Scallops can vary in size, and picking the heavier ones increases your chances of finding ones with larger flesh (muscle). Test an open shell by squeezing it closed; it should bounce back and close by itself fairly quickly. If there’s no tension and the scallop doesn’t close its shell, that means it’s dead. Avoid dead shellfish at all costs and never buy dead shellfish that is “on sale.”

You can either discard the mantle, liver, and roe or make a quick broth with them for a simple hot sour soup, such as the one of clams and matsutake

Recipe reprinted with permission. Photos provided. Photo credit Darren Chuang.

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