|Scallops & Beets|
Apr 11th, 2006
Okay, I'm ready to talk scallops. First of all, I must admit that up to this point scallops have not played a large part in my life. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've eaten the mighty scallop, and I've never attempted to cook one at home. In fact I've not been very adventurous with seafood in general. Clams, mussels, oysters, crabs, lobsters, squid, and scallops (at least until last week) - these are all things I like but am scared to prepare myself. And none of them are high on the kids' list of 'things we really hope mommy makes for dinner.'
But I tend to experiment on myself a bit when I'm home alone with the kids. I can make them a quesadilla or some noodles and have time to mess around with things that no-one else wants to eat. So when I saw a prominent display of dry sea scallops at the market last week when Jim was out of town I decided to go for it.
Now here is where I admit to feeling quite stupid. Turns out scallops may be among the easiest things to cook, ever. Put scallop in hot pan, turn over. Finish with a pan sauce if you're feeling crazy. I have no idea why I had made it out to be such a big bad thing in my head, but I had. Whatever. I consulted my Mark Bittman book and cooked the scallops in minced garlic and ginger, removed them from the heat after about 5 minutes, and added soy, wine, and water to the pan to make a sauce. The scallops were returned to the pan to warm back up and soak up a bit of the sauce and that was that. They came out tender and silky, just barely cooked through.
So since I can't make a big production out of how to cook a scallop, I'll give you the recipe for the beets I served as a side. I decided to add the capers after reading Clotilde's post on Beet Soup with Walnut Anchovy Paste. I thought the aged cheese and briny capers might give a similar kick to the sweet, earthy beets as provided by the walnut anchovy paste, without having to deal with two scary seafood items in one night. And indeed, they proved to be an excellent foil to the smooth beets and crunchy peppers. I wish I'd had my camera, as this was a lovely meal, but alas Jim had spirited the digital off to Tucson with him. You'll just have to imagine the pearlescent scallops nestled against the shockingly purple and yellow salad. Probably best anyway, as given my camera skills anything I showed you would just be a color study in beige. Perhaps some things are better left to the imagination, or those who can take a good picture. I'll give you a thousand words instead.
Roasted Beet & Yellow Pepper Salad with Capers3 beets
1 yellow pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
2 tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
white wine vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
salt and pepper
Roast the beets: chop off the greens about an inch above the top of the beet. Prepare two layers of tin foil to create a packet around the beets. Place the beets inside with a generous sprinkling of olive oil. Seal and roast in a hot oven (400° or so) for about an hour. I generally do this as I'm cooking dinner the day before I plan to use the beets, then I just chuck 'em in the fridge still in the foil packet and skin them the next day. Anyway, when the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off their skins and tops.
Chop the beets and yellow pepper into 1 inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped scallions, basil, and capers.
Mix the dressing ingredients, adjusting quantities to taste, pour over the salad. Stir to combine and sprinkle the cheese on top.