Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ole blue eyes



Well...this has nothing to do with Frank Sinatra at all - but I'm sure he secretly was jealous of those 100 baby blues that every scallop has! As you may know, I love scallops. For those of you that are allergic to bivalves, mollusks...well, just shellfish in general, my condolences go out to you.  I don't know if I can claim that scallops are my favorite bivalve, but they're definitely up there! They're kind of the Superman of bivalves. First off, all those eyes. Second, they are the only bivalve that has motor skills (quasi?) - they can shoot themselves across the water by opening and closing their shell, propelling themselves with the force of water! Pretty impressive if you ask me.  Unfortunately, they can't propel themselves away fast enough from the big, bad, predator fisherman.  Better luck next time!

I picked myself up some beautiful scallops - they smelled just like the ocean air, and were extra plump.  If you have the luxury of finding scallops in their shells, go for it! Especially if the roe is attached - quite the delicacy that we don't see too often in 'merica.  I was in the mood for a refreshing, light scallop dish, and came up with a perfect little gem that you all definitely need to try! This dish is so simple it's deceiving.

Scallops with Apple, Fennel, and Tarragon
Serves 4 as an appetizer
4 large scallops
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Wondra flour (optional)
Olive oil
Tarragon, for garnish

For the salad:
1/2 C thinly sliced fennel
1/2 C julienned apple (I used Fuji - you want something crisp!)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T olive oil
1 t minced tarragon
Pinch of celery seed (if you don't have these, it's just as good without!)
Pinch of sea salt
A couple grinds of black pepper

Tarragon Oil:
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C tarragon leaves

Prepare both the oil and the salad first. For the oil, just whir up the tarragon and the olive oil together, and you're set! This obviously makes a lot extra than you'll need for the recipe, but it's great to have around to drizzle on salads and other seafood, among other things! For the salad, mix everything together in a small bowl and set aside.  This salad is delicious on its own, so you should definitely make more!


Finally, you want to simply sear the scallop.  Before you do anything, ensure that the "foot" is removed from the scallop - this is a tougher piece of muscle that is attached to the side of the actual scallop.  Just peel it off, and you're ready! Season both sides of the scallop with salt and pepper, then dredge in Wondra flour if you're up for it.  This helps achieve a nice, golden crust on the scallop.  Heat up a large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Swirl in the olive oil, and allow it get hot, but not so hot that it's smoking.  Place the scallops in the pan, ensuring that they aren't crowding one another (party foul!), and sear quickly on both sides.  They shouldn't need more than a minute or two per side, depending on the size. Now you're ready to plate!

If you have some scallop shells lying around, they are great for plating! Divide up the salad evenly among the plates/shells, and place one scallop on top.  Obviously this dish can be altered to be a main course or a bigger appetizer, depending how many scallops you use - it's as easy as that!  If you have an extra squeeze bottle, use that to drizzle the tarragon oil over the scallop and salad - otherwise just use a spoon.  Cut yourself some mini bites, and enjoy!


I find that scallops are super versatile in what you can pair with them, and this is no exception.  The salad has a bit of tartness, and a tad bit of sweetness that are tied together beautifully with the tarragon and celery seeds.  This also helps to bring out the sweetness in the scallop as well!  The dish is crunchy and velvety all at once, and the interplay between hot scallop and cold salad is perfect.  This is a great dish, and for those of you that may be a bit timid when it comes to using fennel or tarragon, test this out! It's not overly anise-y, so it'll satisfy any hungry guest!


3 comments:

A Culinary Disciple said...

Wow....This looks really tastey. I love scallops as well. And the apple and fennel salad is inspired!

Todd said...

Awesome food, great photos! Love your blog!

http://toddscuttooth.wordpress.com/

Epidemic Kitty Kat said...

Glad you all enjoy it! I hope you can try out some recipes soon as well :)