Saturday, May 3, 2008

I Say Tomato, You Say To-mah-to, I Say Sc-all-up, You Say It Wrong

I grew up in New England. To be more precise, I grew up in a small town, Avon, about 20 miles south of Boston Massachusetts. Now New England is notorious for its rather interesting pronunciations of various words. It primarily centers around the dropped "r". Take any word ending in "r" and a Bostonian will simply omit saying the letter. Thus "car", becomes, "cah", "beer" becomes, "beh", and "New York Yankees", becomes, "Evil Empire", (you had to grow up there).

Like all good regional dialects, it also has its own vernacular for everyday items that is completely incomprehensible to outsiders. Therefore, "I'll have a large regula, and a krulla.", translates to "May I please have a balanced breakfast consisting of equal serving from the major food groups of, sugar, fat and caffeine?". Actually it means I'd like a large coffee with one sugar, one cream and a stick donut, preferably filled with jelly and rolled in sugar.

One of my ingrained pronunciations has also become one of my pet peeves. A true New Englander will pronounce the word scallop as, sc-all-up. A flatlander will pronounce it as, sc-aaa-lop. Scallops are one of the true treats of the sea. A sea scallop is entirely edible and amenable to pairing with any number of sauces or presentations.

Crabby Note #1: When buying scallops, only buy those that are certified "dry pack", "day boat" or "chemical free". Industrial operations will often treat scallops with a chemical, sodium tripolyphosphate, sounds tasty doesn't it? STP does a number of things; it is a preservative that also bleaches the scallop and causes it to absorb water. However, when an STP treated scallop hits the saute pan it releases all that pent up water. It is impossible to sear an STP scallop, at best you will steam it.

Reputable fishmongers won't sell STP treated scallops. Ask, if he doesn't know what you're talking about, go someplace else.

Crabby Note #2: Scallops are often sold with a muscle attached to the meat. This is the muscle that holds the flesh to the shell. It is very tough. The good news is that it easily peels off by pinching and pulling it from the flesh.

Crabby Note #3: The sauces presented are very versatile. You can use them on pork, chicken or other cuts of fish.

Sea Scallops With Two Sauces

by various.

Sauce 1
Tahini Sauce
Weber's Real Grilling Cookbook

1/3 Cup Tahini (Sesame Seed Nut Butter, often found in the Asian food section)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh garlic
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup water

In a medium bowl mix all sauce ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Cooking Time: Huh?
Mixing Time: 1 minute
Sauce 2
Red Pepper and Toasted Sesame Sauce
The Great American Seafood Cookbook, Susan Loomis

3 tsps white sesame seeds
3 medium scallions, trimmed, white bulbs and light green stems finely minced
3 tsps sesame oil
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsps minced fresh ginger
3 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP water

Place the sesame seed in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Remove from heat. Did I mention stirring constantly? Finely crush half of the toasted seeds, I used the side of a wine bottle as a rolling pin on top of a cutting board.

Reserve the remaining sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of the scallions. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan. Place over low heat until hot, stirring occasionally. When hot remove from heat and add remaining sesame seeds and scallions.

This sauce works best when served warm. It is also somewhat spicy, so the less daring among you may want to cut back on the cayenne or add more honey.

Cooking the sesame seeds is the toughest part of this meal. If you've made it this far you're safe.

1 1/3 lbs "Dry Pack" Sea Scallops (approx. 12 - 15 scallops)
1 TBSP Butter
1 TBSP Oil (I prefer Grapeseed Oil, it has a very high smoke point)

Bring the scallops to room temperature. Grind pepper onto the scallops.

Heat a saute pan over high heat, when the pan is hot, (your hand get s hot when it's over the pan), add the oil to the pan, and turn down the heat to medium-high,(if you have a vent above the stove top, now is the time to turn it on). Add the butter. It may smoke, don't panic. Swirl the butter in the oil until melted and most of the bubbles have disappeared.

Place the scallops in the pan, making sure to leave room between the individual scallops. You will probably have to cook in batches. Sear the scallops for 1 minute, do not touch them, do not move them, do not shake the pan. After 1 minute, turn the scallops over. If your pan was hot enough, then there should be a nice brown crust on the scallop. Cook for an additional minute of the other side.

Remove from the pan and cover with foil.

Allow the pan to reheat before starting the next batch. You may need to add some more oil and butter, this will be up to you. When the pan is hot repeat the cooking process detailed above.

Serve with the two sauces. Serve a nice California Chardonnay, maybe a Silverado.

Bask in the bounty of the ocean.

That's it folks, just remember, oh you know, you can do it, you can cook.


Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous looking meal and great blog.

I've added you to my blog roll too. said...

Hello Goddess,

Thank you for the support. I enjoy visiting your web page, I especially like the photography. That's an area I'm working on to improve here at Crabby.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I get the part about the dropped "r", but why does Butter Boy's Bostonian cousin ADD an "r" to words ending in "a"? He has a cousin "Donnar".
Oh, yeah, the scallops look great and I didn't know about the preservative, but I bet that's what my mum is allergic to, rather than the scallops themselves.
Thanks for teaching me!
Ceres, Goddess of the Harvest said...

Wow, he adds an "r"? His ancestas must go back wicked fah! Pissa!!

PS 1: With Butter Boy's recent change in status, I'm going to be putting pressure on him to post.

PS 2: While it's possible your mum's allergic to the STP, shellfish allergies are fairly common (I think it has something to do with iodine),I'm not sure I'd be slipping her any dry packs any time soon.

Anonymous said...

It is against the law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to add Tomato to chowdah!

Unknown said...

By the way, I forgot to mention that we made this with the red pepper sauce and it was FANtastic, in addition to being quick and easy. I do not make 2 sauces for a mere 2 people, in spite of Butter Boy's consumption capacity.

Ceres, your local harvest goddess