Fried

I’m not sure but I think the excessive heat we’ve had the last two days has impaired my ability to successfully put a meal together. I didn’t even attempt it on Monday night (we ordered a pizza), but since Mike had installed the air conditioner, I figured I’d give it a shot last night. After all, we had a package of Bomster Scallops thawed in the fridge, and I was anxious to see what the fuss is all about. I figured they’d be a good option for a quick dinner anyway, as scallops really take just minutes to cook, and they wouldn’t heat up the kitchen too much.

Bomster scallops

I decided rather than searing the scallops, I’d give them a brief soak in buttermilk before coating them in cornmeal. The first problem I encountered is that our buttermilk had frozen in the back of the fridge (as did our crème fraiche, which is why the lemon-savory cream I planned to serve with the scallops didn’t materialize – strike two).

I pressed forward, figuring the buttermilk slush would re-liquefy soon enough (it did). But then I used the wrong pan. Now, you all know how much I love our cast iron skillet, and I use it for darn near everything, but the thing just got too nuclear hot for these scallops – my first batch stuck to the pan, leaving charred cornmeal in the bottom, the scallops still raw.

Dinner:  June 10, 2008

I quickly grabbed our nonstick pan and got that heating for the next batch, and it worked better, though the crust itself was pretty unsuccessful – the scallops gave off so much liquid after I pulled them out of the pan that the crust was soggy by the time I plated. They were tasty, but not at all what I had intended.

Riso Venere

I was more successful with the accompaniments – black rice cooked with shallot and lots of fresh summer savory (already chopped for the lemon-savory cream that was not to be), and blanched shaved asparagus, all dressed with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. It was light and fresh tasting, not to mention lovely to look at, and I’ll likely revisit the combination in the future. I’m betting it would be great with a poached egg on top.

I wouldn’t call this meal a complete disaster, but it was disappointing. The scallops themselves were, as advertised, really delicious, and I look forward to picking up more at the farmers’ market this weekend and giving them another go next week. But I’ll skip the cornmeal crust.

(On an unrelated note, check out Mike’s first contribution to the Tales of the Cocktail blog, up today.)

6 thoughts on “Fried

  1. Jennifer, even your misses sound like solid hits. And I always appreciate food bloggers being honest when things go awry. Regarding cast iron, I fear I am so not a convert. Mostly I’m happy with nonstick pans, particularly for delicate foods like seafood. And when I want a really hot non-nonstick pan, I reach for my Calphalon One Infused Anodized Fry Pan. Does all the nice searing of cast iron, but it cleans up like nonstick and isn’t reactive with tomatoes, wine or other acidic ingredients.

    On another note, I am woefully ignorant when it comes to black rice. Tell me more, please!

  2. Jennifer, I had pretty much the same experience with scallops and a curry-breadcrumb crust and my handy dandy cast iron pan. I haven’t tried it again, but you have given me the courage to go back and do it again. It is so disheartening when this happens, isn’t it!! The black rice sounds great!

  3. Wendy says:

    Jennifer:

    Don’t give up on the scallops, and never change to anything other than Bomster scallops. I live across the street from them when they had an honor system freezer with scallops, tuna, salmon all at the ready on your whim. They have now moved it down to the town docks, right where their boats come in.

    Two nights ago my neighbor and I made pan seared scallops over a bed of greens with avocado, tomato and cucumber salsa. It was an incredible meal. My one suggestions, although you didn’t indicate that you had done this, was don’t submerge the scallops to rinse them. After rinsing, I put them in a dish towel and roll, gently, to remove any liquid I may have added in the cleaning process. The scallops are always so large that I have to cut them at least in half, if not in thirds, for a realistic portion size.

    To sautee, I depend on my trusty non-stick, at about 8 on the heat with an equal measurement of GOOD olive oil and butter. Let them sear for a good 2-3 minutes per side, don’t touch them before that, and then do the same for the next side.

    Bomster scallops are a staple in our freezer, as is their tuna, salmon and their Red Stonington Shrimp. You would be doing yourself a disservice if your didn’t find your way to the Stonington, CT farmers market on Saturday mornings. The Bomsters are right next door, and often times preparing a delicious sample of their goods. You’ll never go anywhere else, trust me.

    Plus, the goat cheese at the farmers market is on a different level, mix it with a little dill and put on a crostini for a great start to your meal.

    Bon Appetit!

    P.S. I am in no way affiliated with Stonington Seafood Harvesters, I am simply a faithful customer.

    P.P.S. When I have a minute, I ‘ll send the recipe for the seared tuna appetizer with an avocado and pineapple salsa on rice crackers. Incredible…..

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