Scallop & Mango Ceviche
If Peru has a signature dish, it’s almost certainly ceviche. In fact, Peruvians commemorate the dish each year with National Ceviche Day on June 28! No wonder, because it’s a refreshingly bright delicacy, with a uniquely fascinating preparation method: Raw seafood is cured in fresh lime or other citrus juices, which contain citric acid that causes the proteins in the fish to denature. In other words, it chemically “cooks” the fish.
And yet, while it’s widely agreed upon by chefs and food historians that ceviche originated in the coastal regions of Peru, there’s still some murkiness around the exact history of this special dish.
According to some historians, there’s archaeological evidence that the people of the Moche civilization, which thrived along the northern coast of modern-day Peru around 2,000 years ago, marinated raw, freshly caught seafood in fermented banana passionfruit (sometimes called curuba) juice. More recent investigations show the Incas did the same, but instead used chicha, an Andean fermented beverage that’s still drunk today. So when did citrus enter the picture? Presumably, around the 1520s, when Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Incan Empire, toting (among other, more menacing personal effects) Persian limes, which they then juiced and used in lieu of chicha as a marinade for raw seafood.
However! Some food historians suggest that Andalusian women, who accompanied the conquistadors on their voyage to Peru, brought with them a dish that evolved into the ceviche we know and love today. Regardless of who influenced whom, ceviche eventually found its way to other Spanish colonies — though the exact composition of the dish varied according to regional seafood and ingredients.
Today, that pattern still holds true: Ceviche is popular around the world, but depending on where you’re eating it — and what the local fishermen caught that day — it might be made using everything from red snapper to octopus, and mixed with any number of seasonings, fruits, or vegetables. Ultimately, when it comes to ceviche, all that really matters is the freshness of the fish.
Here, we use super fresh scallops and marinate them in tangy orange and tart lime juices for a couple of hours, so the shellfish has plenty of time to tenderize. Then, we toss the citrusy scallop bits with juicy mango, punchy shallots, subtly sweet grape tomatoes, spicy red jalapeño, grassy cilantro, and bright lime zest. It’s the perfect balance of salt, fat, acid, and heat — with a hint of sweetness to round it all out.
This ceviche is so good on tortilla chips: their salty crunch contrasts beautifully with the plush texture of the scallops, the sweetness of the mango, and the subtle tart notes of the lime. We love serving it as a breezy yet lively happy hour appetizer — though we wouldn’t need much convincing to eat it for dinner either. A tapas-style meal with elote, avocado slices, tostones, and this sunny ceviche? Sounds delightful!
Our tips: This recipe serves a big group, so feel free to knock it in half if you’re eating it solo or with the S.O. To keep the ceviche chilled, simply place the serving bowl on ice. You can also substitute jumbo scallops for diver scallops — always fresh, never frozen — to get a slightly different bite.
Servings: 6 to 10
1 lb jumbo scallops, muscles removed, patted dry, and chopped into ¼” pieces
⅔ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
⅓ cup orange juice
1 red jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup small-diced ripe mango
¼ cup small-diced shallots
½ cup small-diced grape tomatoes
½ cup chopped cilantro, including some stems
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest from 1 lime
Flake salt, to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the bay scallops, lime juice, and orange juice, and mix to incorporate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the jalapeños, mangoes, shallots, grape tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime zest, and flake salt, and stir to combine.
Serve cold with tortilla chips.