Sunday, July 12, 2009

Magnificent Scallops For Lunch.

Now this was a meal. A very good meal. Dare I say ... "A delicious meal" ?
It's seared scallops with a fresh tomato sauce puree and a mint/pea pesto pasta in a PARMESAN FRICO CUP! Oh, and a sprig of mint. And scattered green peas. If you've been a regular reader, then you know I attempted Giada's Parmesan Frico Cups last month and posted about my sad little experience here. Yes, Rosie shares both her triumphs and her failures with her loyal readers. And I vowed to master the Parmesan Frico cups:
I truly suck at this.
But I promise you this:
I will master the Parmesan Frico cup.
Mark my words.
But first, my pesto.
My ingredients: 1 cup frozen peas (Do NOT use canned peas. I will hunt you down, find you, and hurt you.) 1/2 cup toasted almonds (Toasting nuts really brings out their flavor.) juice and zest of 1/2 lemon handful of mint leaves salt and pepper olive oil
I put the peas in my mini-processor, added the juice of 1/2 lemon, and the zest of 1/2 lemon.
I grated the Parmesan cheese ...
... added my mint leaves ...
... and the toasted almonds ...
... and processed while adding in my olive oil ...
... until I got this nice pesto. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Next, I added rotini to salted, boiling water.
Drained the pasta and added some of the minty pea pesto. Set aside. I wanted some colorful accents for this meal and something else that had mint in it besides the pesto so I googled mint and tomatoes and found a recipe for a blackened tomato with a mint paste.
I went out and picked some small Roma tomatoes and some large cherry tomatoes and the mint. The other ingredients are 1 TB sugar salt and pepper olive oil
I salted, peppered, and sugared the sliced tomatoes.
I chopped the mint and added enough olive oil to make a paste.
I drizzled the tomatoes with olive oil, smeared each with the mint paste, and drizzled again with some more olive oil.
The recipe said to cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, until the tomato kinda blackened. I tasted at this point and was a tad disappointed. The tomato reminded me of a not real soggy piece of sun-dried tomato. I was looking forward to the mint flavor, but there was none. And I don't think mint is supposed to be black. So I screwed this one up. Now on to my tomato sauce puree:
Sadly I only had 1 ripe tomato left since I'd used the good part of my tomatoes for my last disappointment. So I opted for 1 can of diced tomatoes garlic onion mint basil fresh bay leaves (If you use dry, cut back to 1.) Anaheim pepper ( I used an Anaheim because that's what's ready in my garden. You could substitute any sweet pepper.) That's my bay tree.
First, I sauteed the chopped onion in some olive oil for a couple of minutes.
Then added minced garlic and cooked for about a minute. Rosie Tip #213: Don't brown the garlic. Makes it bitter.
I added in my fresh bay leaves and stirred for another minute.
Then I added a can of diced tomatoes ...
... and about 2 cups of my chicken consomme ...
... my minced Anaheim pepper ...
... and my basil leaves. And cooked over very low heat for about 20 minutes.
Then I pureed the tomato mixture in my mini-processor, just batches at a time. Rosie Hint # 122: Don't fill a blender or processor with hot liquid and mix or process. Either cool the mixture first, or better, process in small batches. Now on to the dreaded Parmesan Frico Cups. I think I can I think I can I think I can ...
I grated 2 cups of Parmesan cheese. This time I used the coarse grater, not my very fine rotary grater which is what I used last time and actually hypothesized that the coarseness of the grate might have something to do with the success of this little edible bowl. From my last post about the Frico cups:
And the next time I attempt this,
I'm going to coarse grate the cheese
instead of micro-rotary-grating it.
That might just be my problem.
I made little 1/4 cup piles of coarsely grated cheese and pressed them into little 4-inch circles.
Baked at 375 for 8-10 minutes.
I let these sit for about a minute before trying to remove from the pan. Right out of the oven, they're too much of a molten mess. And I used a micro-thin cookie spatula for removing them. I placed each round over top my inverted muffin cups and pressed around to make a cup shape. The end result: This is a start. Another evolving recipe for me - like the corn fritters. This attempt was certainly better than the first, but none of my 8 cups was "pretty." I need to figure a way to de-grease them Perhaps I should have blotted them with paper towels. I wanted them browner, but it didn't seem to work. I didn't like the texture. I wanted smoother and more uniform. Oh well. If anyone has any suggestions for me, please dish. I think I will experiment with a less coarse grate and also try different types of Parmesan cheeses. I will master the Parmesan Frico Cup! I think there's gonna be a whole bunch of posts about Rosie Asks Rosie: How do you make a damn Parmesan Frico Frickin' Cup??!!?? On to my scallops:
Beautiful, fresh, large ocean scallops. Do I need to go into the whole dry vs wet scallop thing again? I rinsed them off.
And blotted dry.
Freshly ground pepper. And I don't think sea scallops need any salt. They're nice and oceany and briny as it is.
But then I saw a lime so I had to grate its zest over the scallops.
I heated my pan, added some butter (for butter flavor) and some Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil (to raise the smoke point) E!L!O!O! That's EXTRA LIGHT OLIVE OIL!!!!!!! Oooh ... I came up with a catchphrase. Can I have my own program on Food Network? Oh, sorry. Back to the scallops. Put 'em in the butter/oil. And Rosie Tip #235: When sauteeing or frying, resist the temptation to push the meat or veggie around. Leave it alone. If you push it before it has time to form a "skin" the meat will just stick to the pan and you'll tear it by trying to move it. If you wait long enough, the meat will caramelize and you'll have a nice, seared piece that releases itself from the pan.
For 2-3 minutes each side.
Then I deglazed with a few tablespoons + of sherry. You could use any white wine. You know what? Just for a hoot ... a HOOT! ... I tell ya, being the rebel I am, one of these days I'm going to DEGLAZE scallops with a RED wine. Stay tuned for that post.
This sauce is light, buttery, oceany, with a bit of citrus, all chastely kissed with sherry.
Here's Mr. Hawthorne's dish: Parmesan Frico Cup (evolving recipe). Pasta with a minty pea pesto. Fresh tomato puree. Seared seasoned scallops. Green peas scattered thoughout. Sprig of mint.
Here's mine. Mr. Hawthorne asked me why I got 3 scallops and he only got 2. Silly man. (And by the way, there are 7 scallops left.)
I like using these spiral pastas. The pesto or sauce will adhere to the insides. I need to look up the difference between rotini and fusilli.
This was delightful to me. The scallops were light, almost fruity, and bathed in ocean. The tomato sauce was delicate, sweet, and a perfect bath for the scallops. The green peas were green and peas. And they were a beautiful accent and tasteful flourish on a lovely entree.
The tastes, flavors, aromas were qibswedyk. That's my new word: qibswedyk. It's "wonderful" when your fingers are moved over one key to the left.. Hey ... The Damn Parmesan Freakin' Freako Frickin' Cup. It was a good try. But I know I can do better. And when I do, you'll be the first to read about it.
I almost forgot to put a picture in of the sad little baked-to-hell-tomato-slice with no mint flavor. The tomato would have been good if I'd just followed my instincts and not cooked it as long as I did and maybe put more olive oil over top before I cooked. But I did what the recipe said and was cooking and doing 5 or 6 other things so it got dropped through the cracks. I'm sorry. There is no excuse for my inefficiency in this matter. I humbly apologize and beg your forgiveness. But, once again, I give you the agony of my defeat. But sometime in the future, I will give you the triumph of victory. This could be really good, so I add it to my ever-evolving pile: Corn Fritters. Parmesan Frico Cups. Minted Tomato Slices.


Hairball T. Hairball said...

Oooh ...
I came up with a catchphrase.
Can I have my own program on Food Network?

They'd make you work with Snads so you could learn how to cook like a "Real American". You'd get mad, and start putting crap in her vanella vodka and end up in prison. Snads would barely survive, and end up starring in a movie about the experience on the crying women channel.

I just don't think I'm up for all that.

PS: Sorry about your blackened tomatoes.

Marilyn said...

I know that I always regret following a recipe when my instincts were telling me something different. It still all looks good, though.