Monday, December 5, 2011

Zesty Bay Scallops

Bay Scallops with a twist

I was at Citarella the other day and couldn't resist induling in Nantucket Bay scallops.  As I've posted before, they are in season now and, seeing that they are available for such a short period of time, it's best to take advantage of them while you can.

Dry the scallops well in paper towels
and let them come to room temperature before cooking

My tried-and-true method of cooking scallops is to dry them off and dredge them in flour before I sauté them in oil and a bit of butter.  The flour is crucial if you want the brown char, especially with the larger sea scallops. 

Finely slice fresh garlic and ginger

I asked the guy behind the counter how he prepares this scallops.  He said he sautes herbs, fresh garlic and ginger in oil and when they start to soften he adds the scallops.  And here's the kicker: once the scallops start to brown, he adds vinegar!  I had never heard of adding vinegar to scallops.

Aren't these gorgeous?

"Do you dredge the scallops in flour before putting them in the frying pan?"  I asked. 

"You don't need to do that, " he countered. 

Season with Herbs de Provence and Meyer Lemon zest

While the vinegar was intriguing, I was skeptical about adding the herbs, garlic and ginger because I think the scallops taste so good as they are that adding anything would be superfluous and interfere with the sweet taste of the scallops.  And the flour guarantees the brown char every time so, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Right?

Ready to roll

Sauté the ginger and garlic in oil

Looking good!

But, I decided to take  his advise despite my misgivings.  After all, that is what this blog is all about - experimenting with new ideas. And being skinny and fabulous, of course.

I had my go-to roasted asparagus, tomato and shallots as a side dish

Speaking of new ideas - for me, anyway.  My friend Bobby said his girlfriend Holly made a great side dish with roasted shallots.  I think I'll include shallots in all my roasted vegetable dishes from now on.  You can leave the smaller ones whole but you may want to cut the larger ones in half.  These were on the smaller side, so I left the bulbs as is.


Did I mention I like lemon?

I followed his recipe - and when the scallops were done on one side and I flipped them I added the vinegar.  I decided to use champagne vinegar.  Be prepared: when you add it to the hot oil it sizzles and spits - so where your oven mitt and step back after you add it.  Rather than obscuring the gentle taste of the scallops, the vinegar made them taste more scallop-y.  It really brought out their flavor intensely, and the garlic and ginger were wonderful compliments.  I further enhanced the flavor by adding Meyer lemon zest to the scallops and Herbs de Provence before I fried them.  

Ready for its close up


For the scallops:

1/4 lb - 1/2 lb Nantucket Bay scallops per person
2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1 pad unsalted butter
1 tspn Meyer lemon zest
1 clove fresh garlic, finely sliced
1 tbspn fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1 tbspn Herbs de Provence
1 tbspn champagne vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

For the roasted asparagus

1 bunch asparagus
2 plum tomatoes
2 large shallot blubs, peeled
2 tspns canola oil
Salt & pepper to taste


For the scallops

Remove scallops from fridge, dry in paper towls, let stand til they reach room temperature
Pre-heat saute pan over medium heat
Sprinkle Meyer lemon zest over dry scallops and distribute evenly
Add oil and butter to pan
Add ginger and garlic slices, stir around until they soften
Add the scallops, cook for about a minute then flip
Add the champagne vinegar
Cook until the scallops have a nice brown char

For the roasted asparagus

Pre-heat oven the 375 degrees
Chop the white ends off the bottom of the asparagus
Cut plum tomato in half length-wise
Peel shallots
Put ingredients in the pan
Add oil and salt & pepper and distribute evenly
Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes and turn
Cook for another 15 minutes

Serve and enjoy!

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