Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scallops in a nest

Late summer means there are so many beautiful vegetables just waiting to realize their potential at the Morningside farmers market. I've posted on my favorite simple approach to seasonal perfection before: just splash the veggies in question with olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, broil for a couple minutes, then toss with fresh, torn basil leaves. Voila. This time my vegetables served as a cozy nest for quickly grilled scallops finished in lemon and butter. I had some beautiful variegated sweet peppers that I sliced up into strips......and a couple green, hot ones. These I de-seeded before slicing into half moons. For some reason I'm really stuck on cutting different members of the same general vegetable family into different shapes for cooking--does this make any sense? Like if I had two kinds of potatoes--say, one purple and one Yukon Gold or something--I would cut the purple one into slices and the Yukon maybe into rounds. OK, anyway. So I had okra, tomaotes and my peppers all tossed together with some olive oil and salt and pepper.They were broiled for about 3-4 minutes, then tossed with fresh basil.Meanwhile, I rinsed and dried my pound of medium-sized scallops and brushed my grill pan with some olive oil while getting it good and hot over medium-high heat. I didn't want to cook these guys very long but I did want them to get a little browned from the high temperature on the outside while staying sweet and tender inside. Scallops can get rubbery, which is no fun for anyone.After just 2 minutes on my hot grill pan, I added a chunk of butter, a handful of minced parsley, and a splash of beer from the bottle Phil was drinking (I wanted them to have a little liquid so they wouldn't dry out and Phil gracefully consented to drink a beer for that purpose).After another minute or so, I turned off the heat and stirred in the juice and a few slices from 1 lemon. The scallops went into a nest in the center of the vegetables and there was much rejoicing.

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