Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recipe: Really Great Crappy Scallops

The first in my new recipe series: Really Great Crappy Scallops.

In the Midwest, getting your hands on good scallops is not terribly easy. Particularly, they tend to be wet-pack scallops that have had phosphates added to help them retain water during freezing and shipping increasing their visual appeal and weight. Unfortunately, when you try to cook wet packed scallops, the excess water drains out into your pan causing two problems:

a.) The presence of water in the pan makes searing impossible. No crusty goodness for you.
b.) The water takes a fair amount of flavor with it when it jumps ship in the pan.

Also, it means you paid somewhere between $5-$15 dollars (depending on size) a pound for the added water.

What can you do? You can buy dry-pack scallops (for a lot more around here). You can go to your favorite upper-end restaurant who likely has a better supplier than your local grocery store. Or you can do what I do; accept that these scallops are just not going to cook "right" and do something else with them. Pan-searing will not end well with these. Below is my recipe for making something pretty damn tasty using "inferior" scallops.

Really Great Crappy Scallops
1 lb wet-pack, bay (argopecten irradians) scallops (thawed and drained)
1 strip of bacon
1/2 cup dry white wine
juice of one lemon
3 T salted butter
freshly ground pepper

In sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy and set aside.

Turn heat to high end of medium and keep the fat in the pan and add the butter. When it's melted, mix with bacon fat and wait for the butter solids to begin to brown (if it turns dark brown, you've already ruined it. Start over... sorry).

Add scallops, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. If your scallops are anything like the ones I seem to get, quite a bit of scary looking pale whitish fluid will seep out of the scallops.

Add wine and lemon juice. Cook until the scallops are cooked through (2-3 more minutes).

Remove the scallops to a bowl and set aside. Let the liquid in the pan reduce to a syrupy consistence (it will brown up too). You've just made a really odd (and tasty) sauce.

While you wait, chop up the bacon strip into small pieces. Once your sauce is set, add the scallops and bacon and leave on burner long enough to reheat the scallops.

Serve with pasta.

Add one or two additional items that are tasty with seafood: e.g. herbs, roasted red bell-peppers, capers, cream, morels, walnuts, etc. Don't go crazy.

1 comment:

me said...

just don't substitute with white grape juice!!!!!