One sunny Monday afternoon, a restaurant manager (and good friend) called me looking to get into trouble on her day off. The beautiful thing about Mondays is that most of the people with ordinary jobs stay home with some conservative notion that it’s inappropriate to get shitty on the first day of the week. In my humble opinion, Monday is the best night to romp around town. Why, you ask? Because the vast majority of service industry folk are off on Monday, as it’s typically the slowest day of the week. Now, if you’re not friends with a contingent of waiters, bartenders and chefs, I’ll let you in on a poorly kept secret: They party harder than just about anyone. Monday night is their Friday and the empty bars and restaurants their playground. If you haven’t witnessed this subculture, it’s probably because your internal clock is set to “nine to five,” inverse to the get-home-at dawn rhythm of the bartenders and restaurant workers. They’re up all night and asleep for at least half of the day.
As I was saying earlier, I met up with my girlfriend, and the two of us lassoed a chef and a booze rep into joining us. In honor of the weather, and a few complimentary bottles of wine, I threw together a late afternoon ceviche, made with Nantucket Bay scallops, a variety of citrus fruits, hot peppers and cilantro. By sunset, the scallops had spent just enough time in their acidic bath for consumption, and we had polished off three bottles of wine. It was time to join the rest of our industry friends... and so with our buzzes on, we headed for the streets in search of trouble.
Nantucket Bay Scallop Ceviche
1 pound Nantucket Bay Scallops
1/2 red onion, minced
1 handful cilantro leaves, cleaned and removed from stems
1 jalapeño, seeded and deveined
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Wash the scallops in ice-cold water and place them in a large, shallow dish. Cut the skin off the orange and the grapefruit by first slicing off each end and then removing the skin in a “c” stroke with a sharp kitchen knife. Carefully remove each of the citrus segments with an equally sharp pairing knife and reserve in the dish. (This is called supreming.) Then, squeeze the remaining pulp over the citrus segments and discard the pith. Cut one of the limes in half and squeeze both sides into the dish. Discard. Cut the remaining lime in eights and distribute the slices amongst the fruit. Mince the jalapeño and add it to the mixture along with the minced onion. Finish with the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Give it a good toss, cover and reserve in the refrigerator for one hour or until the scallops are opaque. Serve in small ramekins or martini glasses. Accompany with cayenne spiced popcorn (a traditional Latin-American combination.)