Scallops with Pimento Relish and Red Bell Pepper Oil
This was a quick dinner, but oh so good. It came down to about 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration. I like that ratio.
The Inspiration (90%)
1 – Shopping at the Saturday Market, I couldn’t resist the lovely scallops at the Shogun Fish Company stand. You can’t beat fresh sea scallops… as for supermarket scallops, just fuggedaboutit.
2 – Tom Colicchio’s Think Like a Chef, Clarkson Potter, 2000 (before he was all over TV) and Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way, Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Both of these books are about technique and simplicity in cooking; ones to which I refer often.
We didn’t do any cooking on the weekend as we paid a visit to the Carneros wine country. We had a late lunch at the Boon Fly Café on Sunday, so we ate ad hoc from the fridge that evening.
Monday, we were ready for those scallops.
The Perspiration (10%)
Sear the scallops and place on a warm plate in a pool of Red Bell Pepper Oil, served with two slices Acme green onion slab fried in butter and olive oil, one topped with Pimiento Relish. Damn fine meal.
1 – make pimento relish, reserve
2 – make red bell pepper oil, reserve
3 – fry bread
4 – sear scallops
5 – assemble
For the scallops (Tom Colicchio)
Salt and pepper
Dry the scallops thoroughly with paper towels then season on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a well seasoned skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the scallops and adjust the heat so the oil sizzles but doesn’t smoke. Cook the scallops until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes, then turn them and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the scallops, basting them with butter, until they are opaque and beginning to firm, about 1 minute more.
Pimiento Relish (Jacques)
1/2 cup roasted red pimientos, cut into thin strips
10 pitted black olives, sliced
1/4 cup finely minced scallions
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mix all in a bowl.
Arrange on plates.
Red Bell Pepper Oil (Jacques)
1 red bell pepper, peeled with a vegetable peeler, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces (about a cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
dash of Crystal hot sauce
Put the red pepper pieces in a blender with the salt and olive oil and blend until smooth. Reserve in a microwaveable bowl.
When ready to serve, microwave for 1 minute, pool on a plate and place scallops in it.
I’m bored with potatoes, noodles, couscous and rice.
Slice the Acme green onion slab and fry in a bit of butter and oil.
Spread one each with pimento relish.
How simple is that?