Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Sizzling Sautéed Scallops

Never mind the risk of total devastation due to Super Storm Sandy or postponed opening day while officials tested the waters for bacteria, the bay scallop season has officially started! I can already hear the familiar sizzle of the first scallop hitting the pan and taste the delicate and sweet-as-candy excitement on my tongue. 

Over the years, I've tried dozens of recipes with some of my favorite ingredients – garlic, shallots, tomatoes, heavy cream, saffron, orange, panko, Pernod, white wine, and tarragon. But, when it comes to the first of the season bivalves, I like to keep it really simple: scallops, butter, salt, pepper and a spritz of lemon.  

I’ve got a pound of just delivered Nantucket Bay scallops in my refrigerator at my apartment in New York and the anticipation is killing me. 
Nantucket Bay Dry Scallops - November 2012  (photo: Lexi Van de Walle)
Superstorm Sandy Sizzling Sautéed Scallops
1 pound local bay scallops
3 tablespoons butter
Lemon slices
Salt and pepper

NOTE: Pat scallops dry to remove excess moisture and cook in batches of about 1/3 of a pound so the pan is not crowded and the scallops brown. For tender scallops, do not over cook. Overcooked scallops are rubbery.

1. Heat a large heavy skillet on high heat and melt one tablespoon of butter.
2. Add one third of the scallops and cook over high heat until brown, or about 2-3 minutes maximum.
3. Turn browned scallops over and continue cooking until still slightly uncooked in the middle, about 1-2 additional minutes. Store just cooked through scallops on a plate and cover with foil). Repeat until all scallops are cooked. Season.

Early word on how good or bad the season will be is unclear. I’m optimistic for a bountiful year like the Lesters in East Hampton ( Bays Abound with Scallops This Season). More pessimistic reports point to concern about high rates of die-off due to algae blooms this summer (Scallops Suffer Massive Die-Off: Red Tide May Be To Blame).

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