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  • Bute St Seafoodie

Scallop "Ceviche"

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The four elements proposed by the ancient Greeks. What are these from the perspective of scallops?

  • Earth: they live in water

  • Air: they don't breathe it

  • Fire: they're sensitive about it

  • Water: they've had enough of it (see Earth)

A perfectly-cooked scallop has been exposed to a very high heat for a very short amount of time such that the exterior becomes caramelised (possibly with some assistance from a knob of butter), and the interior remains almost uncooked. In my experience, it is impossible to get a good result by trying to cook a wet scallop. I never wash them. Rather, I use kitchen paper to clean them.

So what can we learn about scallops from the ancient Greeks? Simple: if you're going to cook them, don't wet them. Alternatively, wet them but don't cook them.

I put the word "ceviche" in inverted commas because ceviche is a dish in and of itself. Whereas, what I am suggesting here is an approach. Basically you use an acid to "cook" the scallop, but you include some flavourful ingredients along the way. The following list of ideas may be extensive but it's not exhaustive. Choose judiciously.

  • Acid: lime, lemon, orange, (grapefruit?)

  • Herbs: coriander, tarragon, chives, chervil, mint, basil

  • Spices: sea salt, coriander seeds, peppercorns (white, black, pink, green, Sichuan), fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, celery seeds, celery salt

  • Flavourings: chilli, ginger, spring onion, red onion, garlic, fennel, celery, cucumber, tomato, green pepper, wild garlic, capers

  • Oil: extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, herb-infused oils

In "Patricia Wells at Home in Provence" (see reference), ginger and lime are the flavours of choice. Here's another suggestion (depicted). These are nice served with rye crispbreads.

Scallop "Ceviche"


Scallops, white part only, sliced into 5mm thick discs

Lime juice

Coriander seeds, lightly crushed

White peppercorns, lightly crushed

Green chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped

Sea salt

Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Put everything in a glass or ceramic bowl, stir well and then cover and leave in the fridge to infuse for 1-3 hours.

  2. Remove from the fridge and allow to lose the chill a little. Serve with or without the marinade, or sieve the marinade for a less coarse finish.


  • "Patricia Wells at Home in Provence", Patricia Wells (1996), pp. 215:


  • The classical elements:

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