June 3 – June 9, 2019
Monday: Red Lentil Soup with Berbere / Parmesan Toasts
Tuesday: Business in Allentown
Wednesday: Business in Philly
Thursday: Cardamom-Lime Chicken and White Beans (Milk Street, May-June, p.4)
Friday: Grilled Scallops with Miso Corn Salad (F&W, June, 122)
Saturday: Roasted Asparagus with Arugula and Toasted Walnuts
Sunday: Santa Maria Tri-Tip with Pinquito Beans and Tomato Salsa / Klondike Bars
Last week was one of those weeks when I felt that I should share the entire week’s worth of recipes. But my magnanimity extends beyond my schedule for putting this post together. So, let me just note that the red lentil soup with berbere is disqualified because SWMBO thought it was just okay. (For me, it was a great taste of the Middle East.) In Allentown I had wonderfully tender and tasty braised veal cheeks at Grille 3501, but SWMBO wasn’t with me, so it’s out. The wedge salad at Morton’s in King of Prussia was, as always, great – but I’ll bet you have a location near you and you should go to them for this specialty, which is a meal in itself. I was planning to go with the Cardamom-Lime Chicken which got a thumbs-up from Beez. But by Friday the sun was back and we were able to grill some scallops to go on top of a corn salad and to share that with Billy and Emily, who with their presence and appreciation put this over the top. And, if you’re like I used to be, you might be a tad nervous about trying to cook scallops and very nervous about trying to grill them. So, you might learn some technique, as well as finding a new go-to dish for the grill.
Before the recipe, let me give you the technique, and even before, first let me give you some advice about buying scallops.
We’re talking large sea scallops here, “U12,” meaning about 12 to a pound. Smaller sea scallops or bay scallops are not worth trying to grill. If you have a chance to buy dry-pack scallops, get them. For those of you in Pittsburgh, this means Wholey’s or the Penn Avenue Fish Market or some specialty shop. Check to see if your grocery carries them as well. The difference is that “wet” scallops are treated with phosphates, and this makes them absorb more water and requires some extra drying to get a good sear. They can work, however and are, in fact, what we used to cook this dish.
Now, about technique. To get a good sear on your scallops you need to have them as dry as possible. If you have ‘wet’ scallops, dry them off with a paper towel – give them a good, but careful squeeze to draw out as much of the water as possible. With dry-pack, you probably won’t need to squeeze. Put the dried-off scallops in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes – this will dry them out further. (It may well impart some odor to your refrigerator, but this will dissipate in a few days.) Give them one more toweling off, just before skewering and seasoning them.
One more point – to grill scallops best you need cleaned and oiled grill grates. After your grill has heated the grates, scrape them with a grill brush or clean them with a wad of aluminum foil, then brush them with a paper towel dipped into oil (canola oil in this case). Your fingers and hands will get more than a little warm, but you can take it.
GRILLED SCALLOPS WITH MISO-CORN SALAD
(adapted from Food & Wine, June 2019)
Timing: About 40 minutes (includes time to heat up a grill)
Ingredients: Feeds 4
for the Miso Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp. white miso
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
T Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. lime zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (1 lime)
½ tsp. grated, peeled ginger (about 1-inch piece)
1 tsp. light brown sugar (we used dark, since we had it)
Small jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. canola oil
For the scallops and salad:
12 U12 sea scallops (see note above about buying and drying scallops)
3 ears yellow corn, shucked (we used frozen corn – after cooking it, of course)
4 medium scallions
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame (you can buy this frozen)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. small basil or mint leaves, or a combination thereof (we used basil and parsley)
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, divided (you’ll use half for the salad and half to sprinkle over the dish before serving)
2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided (you’ll use half for the corn and scallions and half for the scallops)
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water.
Dry scallops and put in refrigerator (see note above recipe)
Start a charcoal fire in your grill, or preheat gas grill to high, or heat a grill pan on the stove over high.
Chop, zest, juice and assemble ingredients.
Make the vinaigrette:
Whisk the miso, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, lime zest and lime juice, brown sugar, ginger and jalapeño in a bowl, until dissolved. Whisk in the 3 Tbsp. of canola oil in a slow stream until emulsified. Set aside. (Will keep, covered, in refrigerator, for 1 week.)
Make the salad:
Brush the corn and scallions with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and place on grates (or in grill pan). Grill, turning occasionally until just tender and slightly charred. This takes about 4 minutes for the scallions and 10 for the corn.
When cool enough to handle, chop the scallions roughly and cut the corn off the cob. Set aside.
Now get the scallops out of the fridge and, after removing the side muscle from each, thread 3 scallops on two parallel skewers. (Put the skewers into the scallops horizontally, not from top to bottom.) Brush the scallops with the remaining tablespoon of canola oil and season both sides with salt.
Grill the scallops until grill marks appear – maybe 90 seconds on the first side. Turn the scallops and grill another 30 seconds for translucent centers – another minute for firmer, but still tender scallops. (We cooked about 45 seconds on the second side.)
Toss together the corn, scallions, edamame and tomatoes in a bowl. Add the herbs, the miso vinaigrette and t teaspoon of the sesame seeds and toss again to combine.
Divide the salad among four bowls or plates, top each with a skewer of scallops and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of sesame seeds and some more basil, parsley and mints leaves.