Scallops Onna Plate

Scallops Cooked Onna Plate with Tomato Coulis

After a day at the Giants game (Giants 2 Astros 1), neither Carol nor I felt much like doing real cooking. “Why don’t you do those scallops on a plate in the oven… that’s easy,” she said. Good idea, that’s super easy. I had two Zip-Lock bags of plump super-fresh scallops from Shogun Fish Co., purchased that morning at the market, each bag containing four scallops. (Don’t try this with supermarket scallops!) As luck would have it, I had a jar of Fresh Tomato-Basil Coulis in the fridge, made on Thursday because my tomatoes were going south.

tomato coulis and fresh scallops

tomato coulis and fresh scallops

I started using what I call the “onna plate” method of cooking thin sliced fish when I found a recipe for Alaskan Halibut Cooked on the Plate with Tomato Confit* in 2004 by Olivia Wu in the SF Chronicle. She described it as an “utterly simple and almost instant dish.” Slice your fish thin across the grain, put it on an oiled plate and into a 500°F oven for two minutes. I’ve cooked that way several times, usually with halibut or salmon, but I even did it once with thin sliced hanger steak.

I got out the jar of Tomato Coulis to come to room temperature while we put our feet up and had a drink and some cheese and crackers. We watched the six o’clock news and At The Movies with the NY Times’ A.O. Scott and Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips. That’s a pretty good show, by far the best attempt to replace Siskel and Ebert. (It only took about 10 years. Roger Ebert teamed with this guy Richard Roeper for a while before Ebert’s extensive throat cancer treatment, but Roeper was a jerk, in my opinion.) Peas would be good with the scallop dish, so I shelled about eight pea-pods from the morning market while Scott and Phillips discussed movies I won’t see.

sliced scallops on the plate

sliced scallops on the plate

That was a good and necessary respite. I got out the scallops and pre-heated the oven to 450°F – as hot as my oven will go. I found that if I held the scallops on edge it was easy to slice a scallop into four equal pieces – I got a Chef’s Choice knife sharpener for my birthday, so I’m able to keep my knives very sharp with ease. I arranged the slices on two oiled plates and dropped a few peas in the center. While I was doing this, Carol washed, cut up and sautéed some chard to go with. We generally don’t work well together in the kitchen, but in this case, we had our own little space and task so it worked out well and we saved some time. I opened a bottle of Bonny Doon 2009 Paso Robles Viognier I’d been saving for a special meal. Hey, in spite of the simple preparation, this was becoming a special meal.

scallops out of the oven

scallops out of the oven

I popped the plates into the hot oven. At two-minutes, the scallops weren’t nearly cooked, so I let them go another two minutes… just right. I spooned on the coulis and served.

Oh my… special indeed. Yum!

Oh my… special indeed. Yum!

Scallops Cooked Onna Plate with Tomato Coulis
Based on a method described by Olivia Wu in SF Chronicle, 2004, “Alaskan Halibut Cooked on the Plate.”

The Scallops

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 plump sea scallops from Shogun Fish Co. or a trusted fishmonger near you
Sea salt to taste

For the scallops: Slice the scallops into 4 slices each, about 1/8-inch thick. Have the coulis at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 500°. Divide the olive oil among 2 ovenproof dinner plates and even it out with your fingertips. Gently place the slices of scallop on each plate and arrange around the edge of the plate, but do not overlap. Season with salt. Place the plates with the scallops into the oven and bake for 2 minutes, or until the fish is just opaque. Do not cook the scallops all the way in the oven, they will finish cooking on the plate out of the oven. Spoon the tomato coulis over the fish, with some of the oil and juices.
Serves 2

Fresh Tomato-Basil Coulis
From stephencooks.com Makes about 3/4 cup.

Ingredients
• 2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut in quarters
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 3 anchovy fillets
• 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Minced parsley or fresh basil for garnish (optional)
Method
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and purée on high at least 3 minutes. Correct seasoning.
Cook’s note: I chopped the extra scallops, combined with the extra peas and sautéed in butter for breakfast the next morning.

*OK, what is the tomato sauce, coulis or confit?
For what I made, I would call it coulis. What Olivia Wu suggested probably is confit.

Coulis from a definition on epicurious.com
[koo-LEE]
1. A general term referring to a thick puree or sauce, such as a tomato coulis. 2. The word can also refer to thick, pureed shellfish soups. 3. Originally, the term coulis was used to describe the juices from cooked meat.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/tools/fooddictionary/entry?id=2095#ixzz0oD72j4bK

con·fit from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confit
Pronunciation: kon-‘fe,
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Old French, preparation, preserves, from past participle of confire to prepare — more at comfit
Date: 1951
1 : meat (as goose, duck, or pork) that has been cooked and preserved in its own fat.
2 : a garnish made usually from fruit or vegetables that are cooked until tender in a seasoned liquid.

Alaskan Halibut Cooked on the Plate with Tomato Confit
Original Version by Olivia Wu

SF Chronicle 2004

INGREDIENTS:
Tomato Confit
4 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes (such as Brandywine or Cherokee Purple), cored
2 sprigs of basil
1 sprig of mint
Cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

The Halibut
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds halibut, cut on the bias into 1/8-inch-thick slices
Sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:
For Tomato Confit: Preheat oven to 300°. Cut each tomato in half through its equator. Put herbs in an oven-proof baking dish just large enough to hold the tomatoes. Place tomato halves skin-side down on the herbs. The tomatoes should fit snuggly, but not be mashed. Wedge the garlic cloves into the spaces between the tomato halves.

Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and sprinkle sea salt and hot pepper flakes evenly on top. Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with olive oil and juices. When done, the tomatoes should have a melting texture and be lightly caramelized.

Remove the baking dish from the oven, transfer the tomatoes into another dish and let cool for about 1 hour.

Gently remove the skin from the tomatoes, the flesh should fall apart into the dish. There is no need to mash, the confit should be left pulpy. If the confit is too watery (depends on the tomatoes), put it in a saucepan and reduce over medium heat until it reaches the right consistency. When done, combine with the garlic cloves. The confit may be refrigerated for 4 or 5 days; it can also be frozen.

You will use about half of this recipe for the halibut. Save the remainder and toss it over pasta or spread on grilled toast.

For the halibut: Have the confit at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 500°. Divide the olive oil among 4 oven-proof dinner plates and even it out with your fingertips. Gently place the slices of halibut on each plate and arrange so they follow the shape of the inner rim of the plate, but do not overlap. Season with salt. Place the plates with the halibut into the oven and bake for 2 minutes, or until the fish is just opaque. Do not cook the halibut all the way in the oven, it will finish cooking on the plate out of the oven. Spoon the tomato confit over the fish, including the garlic cloves with some of the oil and juices.
Serves 4

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