Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gourmet on the Go!

Pistachio Crusted Dayboat Scallops with a Brown Butter/Lemon Sauce, served with Carmelized Lemon Leeks and Oven Roasted Tomatoes - now that's a mouthful, literally! This collection of recipes may look and sound fancy and complicated, but the meal couldn't be simpler. Basic, quality ingredients combine for a scrumptious finish; a meal that takes 30 minutes - 45 tops - from start to finish. It makes for a great weeknight dinner when the last thing you have time for is spending hours in the kitchen. The addition of the arborio rice in the scallop coating is a trick I picked up from my backyard celebrity chef, Michael Chiarello of NapaStyle - it's a good one! Pair it all with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and voila! Gourmet on the go! The recipes are listed in the order you should prepare them, due to prep/cooking time.

Carmelized Lemon Leeks
  • Leeks (one large leek will serve two people; adjust accordingly)
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
Slice leeks on the bias; discard ends. Separate into individual rings and rinse well to remove dirt. Soak in a solution of cold water and lemon juice (2:1 ratio); soak for a minimum of ten minutes before draining. Add olive oil to a saute pan, enough to coat the bottom, and heat to medium-high. Add leeks to the hot pan, and saute until leeks are soft and carmelized. Add salt and fresh-squeezed lemon to taste.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
  • Small, ripe tomatoes of your choosing (plum, cherry, or the small heirloom varieties work and taste best)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise; toss well with olive oil to coat completely. Place face-up on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Roast in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until soft (but not melted completely).

Pistachio Crusted Dayboat Scallops
  • 1 pound Dayboat scallops
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste, depending on if the pistachio meat is salted or plain)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
Combine pistachios and arborio rice in a spice grinder or blender; grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a shallow bowl; add spices and mix well. To coat the scallops, press both sides into the crust mixture so that it adheres. Coat the bottom of an oven-safe saute pan with olive oil and preheat to medium-high. Place coated scallops in the preheated pan and sear 1 minute per side. Transfer pan into a pre-heated 400-degree oven to finish cooking, approximately 5 minutes (any longer, the scallops could get too chewy). Remove from oven and serve on a bed of Lemon Leeks (recipe above); drizzle with Brown Butter/Lemon Sauce (recipe below).

Brown Butter/Lemon Sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Continue to cook until butter foams and turns brown at the edges. Add lemon juice and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when browned throughout. Drizzle over scallops.

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