A couple of days ago I got a call from a perspective client wondering if I was available this weekend for a dinner party for two. Happily I have the day open because I love doing these kind of intimate affairs. This particular dinner will be an anniversary celebration and my client wants to provide his wife with some of her favorite foods, one of which happens to be scallops.
However, because my husband is NOT a fan of seafood, I don’t cook a lot of it at home. I decided I better turn to one of my many (many) cookbooks to find some inspiration. Luckily, my friend Becky Selengut has just written a cook book all about sustainable seafood called Good Fish. I’ve had this absolutely gorgeous and exceptionally witty (yes a cook book can be witty) book on my shelf for a while but until now I haven’t had a great excuse to cook from it. This was my opportunity. I turned to the chapter on scallops and spotted a recipe for Scallops with Carrot Creme and Marjoram. Perfect.
The recipe has several components that are cooked separately then plated together. They include carrot cream, herb oil, pickled carrots and of course, the scallops. Looking at the photo in the book, the way that it was plated made me wonder if the pickled carrots were really necessary. They’re kind of off to the side looking very unimportant. Luckily I was able to contact Becky through Twitter (she goes by @chefreinvented) to ask if they were really needed. “Crucial” was her reply, “it’s the only acidity in the recipe”.
Okay then. I made the “crucial” pickled carrots (though I cut the carrot into tiny matchsticks instead of the ribbons Becky called for) and the rest of the components following her excellent instructions then plated it all together, piling my carrots atop my seared scallop rather than off to the side.
How was it? Really, really good. In the headnote to the recipe Becky says “There is something about the earthy sweetness of carrots paired with the delicate pine notes of the marjoram that really works.” I have to agree. And that carrot cream, I could eat it with a spoon. Swoon. Following Becky’s instructions for cooking the scallops themselves led to beautiful caramelization on the outside with a lovely medium rare interior. Awesome.
The husband though? Yeah, he really is not a fan of scallops (though he enjoyed the other elements of the dish). I applaud him for trying them but by the time he was done he had declared the house a seafood-free zone until at least August.
As you know, I’m not in the habit of sharing recipes from cookbooks. Those authors worked hard on their book and I’m not going to give away their hard work for free. So, get yourself a copy of this book, turn to page 89 and fall in love.