Cool shrimp and scallops are enticing in a glass bowl at a buffet.
They also can be served with toothpicks for nibbles or in shells or fish plates as a first course for a sit-down meal.
We know ceviche was served by Martha Washington in early Colonial days (spelled caveach), most likely wending its way here from the Spaniards in Mexico and Latin America as well as from Barbados and other islands.
This is easy, fast and beckoning, and is best made a day or two ahead and served chilled.
Poaching the seafood very quickly before marinating takes away the trepidation some people have about eating “raw” seafood.
11/2 pounds large raw shrimp in shells
1/2 pound raw sea scallops, sliced horizontally into 1/2-inch pieces
Grated rind of 3 limes, 2 lemons, and 1 orange, no white attached
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, thyme, oregano, and basil
1/2 small red onion, very finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon commercial seafood seasoning (optional)
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the shrimp and poach just a few minutes, until tender and pink. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon or strainer, reserving the poaching liquid, and set shrimp aside to cool.
Return the poaching liquid to a boil. Move the scallops to a heat-proof strainer or colander and dip into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, until the scallops are just cooked. Remove and set aside to cool. Peel the cooled shrimp and cut into thirds. Move the scallops and shrimp to a plastic Ziplock bag. Add the grated lime, lemon, orange rinds, and the juices. Refrigerate covered, and marinate overnight, tossing occasionally.
When ready to serve, bring to room temperature and drain, reserving the juice. Add the herbs, onion, oil, and hot sauce, and toss lightly.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and add optional seafood seasoning as desired. Serve chilled with the avocado. It looks smashing in a stemmed wide champagne glass with a wedge of avocado.
Nathalie Dupree is the author of 11 cookbooks, most recently “Southern Biscuits.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com.