Orange Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche is a deliciously refreshing spin to this traditional South American favorite! A medley or orange, lemon and lime citrus “cooks” the shellfish with a mild, sweet flavor and complements the small amount of heat from the cayenne pepper and red onion! Serve as an appetizer with tostada chips and guacamole!
What is Ceviche?
Ceviche is raw shellfish or fish that is marinated, or “cooked” in citrus juice. The concept of cooking without heat is an old method which hails from South America. Also known as “Seviche” or “Cebiche,” this raw shellfish dish is typically served as an appetizer.
Is It Safe to Eat?
There is a risk to eating any raw meat or seafood and the solution is a combination of Time and Temperature-how long the meat or seafood is cooked, and at what temperature. In this case, there is no “temperature”, but the citric acids denature the proteins in the raw fish, thus “curing” or “cooking” it.
Best practices suggest using commercially frozen seafood that is frozen at -31ºF for 15 days or at -10ºF for 7 days. Together, the freezing temperatures and acidity of the citrus fruits reduce the risk of contamination.
Vibrio cholera, the seafood pathogen most often associated with raw fish, cannot live in an environment with a pH level of <4.5. Luckily, lemons have a pH of about 2.0 – 2.5, the pH of limes is around 2.5 and oranges rank at a pH of about 3.3 – 4.2.
However, the Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 71, No. 6, 2008, devoted a whopping 21 pages to Food Safety for Seafood Consumers and, just like any other government “food entity,” they say “don’t eat raw fish.” Conversely, people have been eating Ceviche for centuries so…you decide! If you’re skeptical or hesitant, parboil the shellfish for 2-3 minutes prior to marinating.
How Does Citrus Juice “Cook” Raw Fish?
Citrus juices cook or “cure” raw fish through a process called denaturation. Without getting too scientific, denaturation is the process of breaking down proteins through either heat or acid. In the case of Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche, the citric acids break down the proteins in the raw fish, thus “cooking” the fish.
How Long Should it Marinate?
As earlier noted, the combination of time and temperature are important when making Ceviche, and the time for marination varies. The general consensus is raw fish should marinate in an acidic environment for at least 1 hour to ensure safe consumption. Interestingly, the longer the raw shellfish or fish marinates, the more opaque and flakier it gets.
I prefer the texture and flavor of Orange Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche after 4 hours of marination; but it’s really a personal preference.
Craving More? Try Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Orange Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
- 12 oz. frozen salad shrimp, thawed
- ½ lb. frozen scallops diced
- 2 large navel oranges - ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 large lemons - ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 lime- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons red onion, chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 tablespoon dill
- Rinse and pat dry shrimp and scallops
- Cut scallops into small pieces
- Place shrimp and scallops in medium bowl
- Combine fresh citrus, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl; mix well
- Pour fresh juice over shellfish; combine well
- Pour the citrus juice and seafood into a large plastic bag; refrigerate and marinate for 1 hour; rotate bag every 15 minutes
- When ready to serve, use a slotted spoon and plate Ceviche; garnish with dill, red onions and avocado