Monday, November 17, 2008

Fast Apps: Seared Diver Scallops on Pancetta & Brussels Sprouts Leaves

After a spectacular couple of weeks cooking with autumn greens, we were left with three lonely Brussels sprouts. Strolling through Whole Foods, we spied some U-10 Scallops that would make a perfect appetizer.

Elizabeth manned the scallop station here, creating a perfect sear on the humongous U-10s. Cook them on medium-high heat, keeping a close eye on the scallop.

Don't bother with cooking according to minutes...sear your tops & bottoms, then watch the side of the scallop...when the watery, translucence goes away and you get an elastic touch, wait a moment or two more then it's time to pull them off the heat.

The sprout leaves to me are the coolest thing about this recipe. I always hated Brussels sprouts (whole, halved or quartered) because they were green chunks of semi-sulfurous bitterness. But if you peel the sprout, leaf by leaf, the eggy sulfurous character goes away and you're left with a mellow leafy-green.

Pull the first four or five leaves off each sprout, then cut the base off what's left of your sprout-nub.

Cut the remaining nub in half and pull it apart with your fingers. Discard any chunky bit.

We rendered some chopped pancetta in a hot pan (you could use thick-cut or slab bacon), then added the Brussels sprouts leaves.

Once the leaves wilted and took on a slight char, turn off the heat and splash it with a scant tablespoon or so of an acid...we used sherry vinegar, but red-wine vinegar or apple cider would work.

The final result...sweet seared scallop, salty crispy pork bits and slightly sour & bitter bite from the leaves.

C & E

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