Scallops are something I rarely cook as Seán, the husband, avoids them as much as possible. A few years back when we were at a Dim Sum restaurant in London he literally turned green whilst eating one! It has to do with the texture and size apparently.
So last weekend I went down to Greencastle, Co. Donegal to visit my Dad for Father’s Day. (Well geographically its “up” to Greencastle from Derry, but as Greencastle is actually in the “south” of Ireland and I live in the North its “down”- all very confusing really!) Anyway Greencastle is a fishing port on the Inishowen Peninsula surrounded by a typical small Irish holiday village, and whilst I was there I managed to pick up some fresh scallops.
I was originally going to sear them like I usually do, but then I had the idea of making a scallop ceviche, hoping that the smaller size, and therefore less spongy texture, might entice Seán to try some. I think it was the simplest dish I ever made… literally fresh scallops cut into equal bite-sized pieces, cured for 10 minutes in lemon juice then mixed with some onions, herbs, chilli slices and seasoning. It was a mega easy to make, really tasty and super quick light starter. Even Seán had some… washed down with a good few pints of Guinness at the Cavanagh pub [Seán Ti] with my Dad later on in the day.
4 large fresh scallops
1 lemon, juice and zest
half a red onion, diced small
a few sprigs of dill, chopped
1 tablespoon of chilli-infused olive oil*
1 tablespoon of lemon olive oil*
[*or just use extra-virgin olive oil]
salt & pepper
a few sprigs of dill
1 red chilli, sliced finely
Cut the scallops into small dice and mix with the lemon juice, lemon zest and red onion. Leave to cure for 10 minutes.
Add the dill sprigs and olive oils, mix together gently and leave for another 5 minutes.
Decant the ceviche onto a platter and garnish with the remaining dill sprigs and sliced chilli. Serve on its own or accompanied by plain corn chips or thin crunchy melba toast.