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Scallop Aguachile: Fresh and Simple

by Brad Prose
scallop aguachile
Scallop aguachile with tomatillos and jalapeños.

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Ceviche with a punch of chile.

Scallop aguachile might be my favorite plate of fresh food on the planet. This dish is super fresh and simple. If you have a nice blender and about 20 minutes to spare you’re good to go. The flavors are salty, crunchy, bright, acidic, and leave you walking away feeling like a brighter person. It even pairs well with beer, in case you’re a guy like me.

I’ll share this super simple recipe below, but I wanted to take a minute to pause and describe the differences between ceviche and aguachile.

raw scallops aguachile

What’s the difference between Ceviche and Aguachile?

As you can see below, I’m using some pretty huge scallops.  Sea scallops can range from 10 to 40 per pound.  These colossal ones I’m using are the U10 size from Omaha Steaks. These are dry packed, so they are not floating in liquids or phosphates.  These are definitely the quality you’d want for something like aguachile.

Most people that have been to Mexico, or have a love for Mexican seafood, know what ceviche is.  Ceviche is typically shrimp or conch that has been marinating in lime juice and other citrus for at least 20 minutes to fully cook.  You will see this mixed with tomatoes, cilantro and onion with chiles on the side, served with chips or tostadas.

Aguachile is from Sinaloa, off of the western coast of Mexico.  If you’d like to nerd out, I recommend this article that walks you through the history and varieties.

The main difference between the two is the marinade. For aguachile, the chiles are usually blended with water and citrus. Aguachiles are tossed in the marinade and pretty much served right away, unlike ceviche.  This means that the product you’re using needs to be incredibly fresh. Chiltepines are the chiles that are used locally, which I do not have here in Phoenix.  I’m using jalapenos and tomatillos to create a thicker marinade.

fresh scallop aguachile verde

You will find the very simple recipe below. You will take out most of the ingredients and throw them into your food processor or blender, and you’ll have a thin sauce to pour over the scallops. Get out your sharp knife and cutting board.

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fresh scallop aguachile verde

Scallop Aguachile: Fresh and Simple

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 23 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

You will find the very simple recipe below. You will take out most of the ingredients and throw it into your food processor or blender, and you’ll have a thin sauce to pour over the scallops. Get our your sharp knife and cutting board.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 10 oz U10 size Scallops, about 6, sliced horizontally into 1/4” thick rounds
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Blended Sauce

  • ½ lb tomatillos, husks removed, cleaned, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp key lime juice
  • ¼ small white onion, roughly diced
  • ½ cup cilantro, leaves & stems
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Toppings (optional)

  • ¼ cup English cucumber, thinly sliced rounds
  • ¼ small white onion, thinly sliced rounds
  • 10 drops Olive oil
  • ¼ jalapeño, thinly sliced rounds
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the scallops crosswise into thirds, roughly 1/4″ in width, so you have three slices out of each scallop.
  2. Arrange scallop slices in an even layer on a tray or large plate, sprinkle all over with the salt. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, no more than 2. This helps season, quick cure, and tenderize the scallops.
  3. Process the tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a blender. You don’t want it to be completely smooth, you should still see flecks of ingredients. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  4. Divide the slices onto 3 large plates or shallow bowls. Spoon a generous amount of the sauce all over the scallops. Top with the optional toppings: cucumber, onion slices, cilantro, jalapeño slices, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Enjoy.

Notes

Add more chiles if you want extra spice.

Keywords: scallops, seafood, Mexican

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