Cooking Challenge – Sherried Scallops
The Tidings Cooking Challenge is an opportunity for food lovers to try their hand at creating something together. Not all in the same kitchen, of course. Rather, try the recipe in your own time and then come back and tell us what you thought of it. You can add your comments directly underneath the post, or send a photo of your creation to [email protected].
Scallops are truly one of life’s great pleasures. Starting from their beautiful shells (from which the description “scalloped edge” comes from) to their pretty coral and white colouring. Of course, they taste sweet and delicate, too. They make perfect little appetizers, satisfying mains and even interesting sides. Dare I suggest scallops for dessert, too? In any case, in honour of patio season, summer parties or just because the spring weather has been so nice, I thought another scallop recipe certainly wouldn’t hurt. It’s the opposite, actually. Adding another scallop recipe to the collection can only make the sun shine brighter, right?
Anyway, there’s one thing in particular you should know about scallops. As much as possible, make sure you’re buying “dry” scallops. Injecting phosphates (a preservative) into scallops is common in the fishing industry. The process adds water and, as a result, extra weight to the scallops. If they weigh more, they will cost you more. As important is the fact that they won’t sear as quickly or as nicely. Have you ever noticed how much liquid they release in the pan? That’s the phosphates and water. “Dry” scallops should cost you less because they will end up weighing less. No preservatives (and thereby no extra water) is added. They may release a little liquid during the cooking process, but nothing close to “wet” scallops. They will caramelize quickly and beautifully without overcooking in the centre. I’ve often found that I have to ask specifically whether or not the scallops on display are “dry” because they’re not always identified as such.
Use your favourite sherry for this appetizer. Because sherries vary in flavour, you might try making this appetizer individually, using a different sherry for each one. That approach works really well in a kitchen or patio party when guests are hanging around you as you cook. This recipe cooks up two appetizers, but it’s easily doubled or tripled for larger quantities. It can be made ahead and served at room temperature, too. If you can get a hold of fresh scallops still in their shell, definitely do so. Then, you can serve the finished appetizer in the cleaned shells. Some kitchen stores sell china or plastic scallop shells (usually labelled as being meant for Coquilles St. Jacques). Otherwise, feel free to serve these appetizers on plates or even martini glasses.
1 slice butternut squash, diced
1/2 potato, diced
2 cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 clove garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Heat garlic half in olive oil along with sprigs of rosemary and sage. Add diced potato and cook at medium heat for 5 minutes. Add squash, and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add tomatoes. Toss, and season with salt and pepper according to taste.
2. Sear scallops until golden and caramelized. Add sherry, salt and pepper; heat through. Spoon vegetable mixture into serving shells, plates or glasses.