Scallop, Dungeness Crab, Black Quinoa, Spinach, Tomato
Shall we begin? French for “to amuse the mouth,” an amuse bouche is a delectable morsel sent out by the chef in fine dining establishments to welcome and delight the guests. Unlike appetizers, diners don’t choose an amuse bouche from the menu. It is a lagniappe, a little something extra created by the chef, to whet their appetites for the meal to come.
For elegant entertaining at home, I think of an amuse bouche as mingling plush ingredients and pizazzy flavors in a diminutive eye-popping presentation. This scallop & crab amuse bouche was a perfect way to tickle the tastebuds at our recent sea-centric dinner party.
Scallop, Crab, Black Quinoa, Heirloom-Tomato-Meyer-Lemon Sauce Recipe
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Scallop “Banh Mi” Sliders
Grilled Jumbo Sea Scallop on a Mini Crescent Bun
Pickled Carrot, Radish, and Red Onion
Fresh Cucumber, Jalapeño, and Cilantro
The original idea was to grill some gorgeous scallops and build a petite sandwich in the style of the super-popular Vietnamese Banh Mi. My dilemma was how to make a scallop slider with the correct balance of bread-to-scallop. Slider buns or rolls can readily be purchased at the supermarket or bakery. But those buns are still way too big to fit a single sea scallop. After many phone calls to my friends (bakers and chefs), I decided to try manipulating Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls. Baking from scratch was not an option, as I was teaching a Cooking Class highlighting grilling (not baking). And it was important that the participants be able to easily re-create all the dishes.
I unwound the individual rolls, cut the dough in half, then reshaped and baked it for 12 minutes. Voila! The result: perfect scallop-sized buns. Just before serving, the mini buns were sliced, both sides of the interior brushed with a bit of butter, then toasted.
Dry pack, wild caught Atlantic sea scallops have a sweet, rich buttery taste. They contain no preservatives or additives and do not ooze liquid during the cooking process, unlike wet scallops that have been soaked in a phosphate solution. The scallops are simply tossed in olive oil with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper, then grilled on the BBQ using a grill pan over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Simple, smoky, and sumptuous!
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Pan-Seared Sea Scallop over Melted Leek Pasta
Lemon Creme Fraiche, Caviar, Celery & Garlic-Chive Flower Garnish
An opalescent sea scallop sits atop a dreamy melted leek angel hair pasta. Glossy black caviar and lemony cream fraiche adorn the scallop. Pretty white garlic chive blossoms and pale green celery leaves finish the dish.
These dry pack, wild caught, Atlantic sea scallops retail for well over $20/lb. U10 sea scallops are the largest available and have a sweet, rich buttery taste. They contain no preservatives or additives and will not ooze liquid during the cooking process, unlike wet scallops that have been soaked in a phosphate solution. Dry scallops caramelize naturally during cooking to a gorgeous golden brown crust. Though definitely not inexpensive, this luxurious dish can be made for just over $3 per plate by using black lumpfish caviar rather than the more extravagant sturgeon varieties. Black lumpfish caviar is clean and crunchy with a pronounced salty sea flavor.
Continue reading “An Elegant Little Starter: Scallop & Melted Leek Pasta”
Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup
Traditionally this satisfying soup is savored by Korean mothers who have just given birth as a restorative meal, to replenish vitamins and nutrients. Consequently, it is also enjoyed on one’s birthday, as a way to commemorate that special day. Here, the addition of some gorgeous huge Atlantic Sea Scallops definitely adds to the celebration!
This soup, miyeok guk or miyuk guk, is simple but super-flavorful and the scallops add a luxurious component. It’s made with seaweed known as miyeok in Korean/wakame in Japanese, lots of garlic and ground pork in an ocean-y broth. It is garnished with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, a sprinkling of crunchy sesame seeds, while a restrained amount of Korean red chile flakes called gochugaru adds a lively quality. The scallops are seasoned with Kosher salt and seared in a hot pan with just a bit of canola oil to let their natural flavor shine.
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An autumn affair! Oh, I am in love. He is fresh, sensuous, healthy, and playful.
He is simultaneously familiar and exotic; simple and complex.
His diverse tastes always reflect the season. And he is absolutely gorgeous.
He is New Nordic Cuisine.
wild carrot flowers
We are experimenting with New Nordic for the first time. My fellow passionate cooks, Lauren and Gail, join me in the kitchen to create this titillating dinner. Ingredients for the six-course meal include Norwegian goat cheese, wild herbs and flowers, berries and seeds, smoked fish, quail, grainy breads, root vegetables, and fresh fruits from the farmers’ market. Each dish is inspired by nature. We’ve attempted to present and garnish the plates in the sensual & earthy New Nordic style.
The setting is natural-organic-minimalist. White china, set on a large mahogany table sans cloth. The centerpiece and decoration is created from foraging…sticks, twigs, fruit from the vine in our gardens, and rocks and driftwood from the beach.
Our goal was to transport our dinner group of five, as well as Taste With The Eyes’ readers, to experience the essence of Fall in Scandinavia, Finland, and Iceland via my home in Los Angeles. We were inspired by the beauty of New Nordic Cuisine, by the distant land’s cutting-edge chefs’ pure artistry and commitment to local, seasonal, and sustainable.
Continue reading “Foodbuzz 24X24: Autumn Affair, New Nordic Style”