Epicure Recipe Cards #32 & #12: Scallop Ceviche, Sesame Butterfly Prawns

Plans to prepare a simple, light and refreshing dinner isn’t always as easy as it seems. Whilst the cooking process may be straightforward and economical time-wise, the whole background planning and procuring of ingredients can be quite the opposite. When cooking seafood, and especially in the case of the ceviche below, not only is fresh quality produce important for taste but also for hygiene.

I forewent my local fishmongers and headed to the dedicated seafood section up the back of Paddy’s Markets at Haymarket, after having had brunch with Laura near-ish by. I was in complete disbelief when I found them hosing down the floors and preparing to close when it was only 2pm on a Sunday! This led to a trek around various fishmongers around Chinatown where I was successful in my quest for non-frozen scallops (roe attached!) and prawns.

Ceviche doesn’t involve cooking as such, but merely some slicing, mixing and steeping. In hindsight I sliced some of the scallops too thinly – perhaps due to being a tad excited about using my small, sharp knife for the first time – which resulted in the thinner slices being more “cooked” by the lime juice than desired. However the overall texture was quite interesting – soft on the inside, yet soft and sealed on the outside through the acidic action of the lime juice and reminding me of something which has been poached. I didn’t use the herbs specified in the recipe only because I don’t generally use herbs in my day-to-day cooking, which would mean a sad, slowly wilting bunch or two of them giving me guilty looks every time I opened the fridge door. (I really should research and invest in growing my own herbs in a planter box on the balcony. Tips appreciated.) Taste-wise I’m sure they would’ve added a fresh and fragrant dimension.

The scallop roe, which is not used in the ceviche, was put to good use Nigella-style and pan-fried in a little butter and olive oil with garlic – absolutely heavenly squished onto warm and slightly crusty bread rolls. Although I’m pretty sure my doctor would be less than impressed by this method of not letting the scallop roe go to waste. Hmmm.

The prawns required a little more work; needing their heads removed (Off with their heads!) and to be de-veined as well as being split down the middle with – yay! – that small knife again. But after that it’s easy with just a brushing of oil and sprinkling of sesame seeds and salt before popping them under the grill to curl and brown ever so slightly.

Enjoy the last of the warm(er) weather and enjoy these dishes sitting in the long, slanted shadows of late summer evenings. Glass of chilled wine in hand, optional.

Scallop Ceviche (serves 2-3 as a starter)
(adapted from The Age – Epicure 50 Best Recipe Cards, recipe by Jill Dupleix)

·         6 large sea scallops
·         half an avocado, peeled & finely diced
·         2 tbs each of coriander and mint leaves (optional)
·         3 tbs lime juice
·         2 tsp caster sugar
·         ½ tsp flaked sea salt
·         1 tsp olive oil

  1. Clean and trim the scallops, removing any roe. Slice each scallop horizontally into 3 or 4 thin slices. Arrange on a platter in a single layer.
  2. Combine the lime juice, sugar, salt and oil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour this over the scallops, ensuring each slice is covered and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. To serve, transfer scallops from steeping mixture and arrange on a plate. Lightly toss the avocado and herbs (if using) in the steeping mixture and arrange in a mound on top of the scallops.

Sesame Butterfly Prawns (serves 2-3 as a starter)
(adapted from The Age – Epicure 50 Best Recipe Cards, recipe by Jill Dupleix)

·         12 medium-sized raw prawns
·         1 tbs sesame oil
·         2 tbs white or black sesame seeds, or both

1.      Remove prawn heads, trim legs with scissors and leave the remaining shell on. Cut in half lengthwise down the underside (leg side), leaving them joined at the tail end and press to flatten a little. Arrange on a lined baking tray with the flesh side facing up.
2.      Heat an overhead grill to around 200°C. Brush prawn flesh with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and a little salt.
3.      Place under the grill for approximately 3 minutes until prawns are slightly curled and lightly browned.

happy cooking!


  1. hehe i have weird issues with scallop roe for some reason but zomg your cerviche looks awesome!

  2. I don't eat seafood, but I know my mum would LOVE those prawns! I may just have to treat her to some :P Best daughter ever?

  3. Oooh nice work finding scallops with the roe attached, I don't understand why the roe isn't always served, it's my favourite part! Mmm all that seafood looks so fresh and yum

  4. Oh Lady! you MUST start using fresh herbs! They just lift some of these dishes so much, though I do understand what you mean about not using them.

    coriander and mint are two of my favourite herbs and i use them in all sorts of things. So I go through them very quickly.

    Coriander is hard to grow. Mint isn't, but likes to be wet, wet, wet.

    Coriander roots freeze excellently and can be used for curry pastes etc

    Good luck!

  5. Scallop with roe is delicious! Your dishes all look amazing, restaurant-quality, though I don't think I'd be able to put in the effort like you did.

  6. wow the butterfly prawns look so pretty!! such a good work :)

  7. I love my fresh herbs and use them a lot in my every day cooking. This dish sounds delicious Rita!

  8. Don't decapitate the fookin' prawn!!!

    I like your style of waste-reduction, scallop roe and bread is probably the best form of recycling since I started using scrap newsprint for a papercut robot

  9. Love the prawn recipe. Nice presentation and looks like it'd taste great even with its few ingredients.

  10. Wow your prawns look awesome, wish I could get Gianna to make them for me but apparently I am the one that has to cook.

  11. Oh lord, this is a whole pile of greatness. Squishing the roe onto warm, crusty bread? Be still my beating heart!

  12. ooh, scallops please! Yes, I'm wearing shorts and thongs for as long as I can. I;m in denial summer is over until the end of Autumn!

  13. I love eating and making ceviche. It always looks so posh and a breeze to make! Thx for the recipe.

  14. Love both dishes! Seafoods and prepared in refreshing ways.

  15. I find it funny seeing people cut off scallop roe and not eating it - really is delicious!

    Love both your dishes, and yes Off With Their Heads!!!

  16. Hey chocolatesuze, embrace the scallop roe, sunbeam!

    Hey Kristy, and they're so easy to make too!

    Hey Stephcookie, I didn't like any sort of roe as a child but it's one of my favourite things now!

    Hey Reemski, coriander doesn't tend to feature in my cooking so I'd probably not plant that, but spring onions and basil are high up on my list! Thanks for the tips =)

    Hey Bel, haha, it was surprisingly easy with very little technical cooking skills required!

    Hey sugarpuffi, and easy to make in a large batch if needed!

    Hey Maria, thank you! Seriously need to look at growing some herbs.

    Hey Ninja, and then there were, like, all these prawn heads, like, every-waaaare...!

    Hey Simon, easy party food too, I think - just bung a whole tray of them in the oven.

    Hey Demos, haha, and here I am always complaining that my husband doesn't cook!

    Hey Conor, seafood, garlic and butter are a fairly fail-safe combination, yes?

    Hey Adrian, with every breath of warm weather I'm still tricking myself to think it's still summer =p

    Hey Anh, I've never made ceviche before! Agree that it's easy to make and presents well too.

    Hey Ellie, refreshing and easy! Doesn't involve much washing up either =p

    Hey Sara, no to wastage of yummy roe!

  17. Wow! Nice delicious recipes you have provided in your site. From your site, I have got some new ideas about many types of the recipe. Thanks a lot....


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