Don’t miss the day boat

December 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

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After my day of rest, we had two fishes on Feast day number four. However, I am only counting one as officially part of the “Week of Seven Fishes.” (Editor’s note: Why Robert will only count one of the evening’s two “fishes” is a mystery to me, but the chef gets to make the rules of the Feast.)

We drove down to the big city on Friday afternoon and stopped in at the stellar Harbor Fish Market where we picked up oysters and scallops. We got six Beau Soleil oysters from New Brunswick and six Winterpoints from just around the corner in West Bath. The Beau Soleils were small, delicate, and mildly briny. The Winterpoints are big and briny. I prefer the Winterpoints since they are meatier and have a bigger flavor. But both were tasty in their own way. I served them with lemon wedges, Tabasco sauce, and two types of mignonette (one made from red wine vinegar and one of champagne vinegar). We love us some oysters.

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The star of the night were the local “day boat” scallops. The Maine scallop season began earlier this month. When fresh scallops are available, they don’t even need to be cooked. A touch of salt and a squeeze of lemon, and pop it in your mouth. Heaven.

But for the Feast, I did a little more preparation, serving them seared on a bed of pea puree. This one was a winner on all fronts, and we give the dish a hearty recommendation. But try to get fresh day boat scallops if you can. Also, please avoid “wet” scallops, which are treated with chemical preservatives.

Dish number five up next.

Seared Scallops with Pea Purée
Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course

1 finely chopped shallot
3 T olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
16 oz. bag frozen peas (if they’re in season, and you have fresh, use them. Use 2 cups shelled peas)
1 1/4 cup chicken stock or water (use only 1 cup to start)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 slices of bacon (save some of the rendered fat)
¼ lemon
10-12 “dry” sea scallops (preferably from Gulf of Maine)
About 1 T unsalted butter
Mint leaves (optional)

Thaw frozen peas. Cook bacon, drain, chop, and reserve. Save a tablespoon of fat for cooking the scallops.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes until shallots are soft. Add peas, 1 cup stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to simmer over medium heat. For frozen peas, simmer for 3-4 minutes, a little longer for fresh. If you want to add mint, toss a few leaves in at the end.

Transfer contents to a blender and puree until smooth. Add a bit more stock if you want a thinner puree. Return to saucepan and keep warm on back burner.

Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat butter (and less than 1 T bacon fat if you like) in a saute pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, add scallops. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook. You really want them just seared on each side and nearly raw in the center. Spoon the fat/butter mixture over the scallops as they cook.

Spread the puree on your plates and arrange your scallops on top (squeeze lemon over scallops). Crumble bacon over the top and drizzle a little olive oil.

Eat. Enjoy.

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§ 2 Responses to Don’t miss the day boat

  • Sara says:

    Yum! I’ll just drive to our local dock to get some scallops… wait…

    How do you know if you’re getting “wet” scallops?

    • Robert says:

      Sometimes they will say dry – usually not wet – on the display tab. But to be sure always ask the person behind the fish counter. I would not trust any that are simply wrapped and refrigerated. And you may be able to find some good flash frozen scallops. I would think those are OK since they are frozen on the boat. I am not sure if any of this applies to the smaller bay scallops.

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