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Scallops Kinilaw (Filipino ceviche aka Filipino cured scallops)

Scallops Kinilaw (Filipino ceviche aka Filipino cured scallops)
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound of scallops
3/4 cup white vinegar, tarragon vinegar, champagne vinegar or sugarcane vinegar (Not ideal with red wine or apple cider vinegar, for me).
3/4 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons of red onion
1 jalapeño or 3 Thai chilies minced
Fish sauce to taste
1/4 cup diced or sliced English cucumber or regular cucumber seeded and diced
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/2 cup seeded, minced bitter melon (or handful of grapefruit segments)
Lemon or lime to taste
Extra credit: turmeric oil (directions below)

Directions:

  1. Butterfly scallops horizontally into 1/4” slices (perfection is not sought here, you just want to slice them so that they “cook” evenly in the vinegar)
  2. In a non-reactive bowl (stainless steel preferred), cover scallops with vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper. Make sure all scallops are covered but not drowning in vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning once.. You can cook longer for up to two hours, but I like 30 minutes for a rare scallop, keeping the sweetness and silky texture.  
  3. Meanwhile, in another bowl, toss together the red onion, ginger and coconut milk with fish sauce (to your desired taste, you can start with a teaspoon).
  4. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup minced cilantro + bittermelon (or grapefruit) with olive oil, chilies and fish sauce to taste (you want a good amount of fish sauce. Start with a teaspoon and build from there. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Can be stored in fridge and used on other dishes! Super yummy.) 
  5. After the scallops have cured, remove from the vinegar, and take the remaining the seasoned vinegar adding to the coconut milk mixture thoroughly folding the vinegar and coconut milk mixture.  
  6. Final step: combine coconut milk + vinegar with scallops. Arrange on a plate and garnish with the cucumbers and cilantro relish. Lemon or lime on the side to taste.  
  7. Extra credit:  1 cup powdered turmeric + 2 cups of olive oil or 1/4 cup grated fresh turmeric.  Simmer in a small sauce pan on very low heat for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. If using fresh turmeric, remove from oil. Use oil to garnish the dish for a vibrant color, a warm flavor that adds depth to the dish and anti-inflammatory benefits.