Showing posts with label scallops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scallops. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2015

Scallops with Ginger-Soy Aioli

by Sheila Connolly


You know you’re a foodie when the first thing you do when visiting the country’s great cities is find a market.

I just came back from a conference/research trip (the MWA Edgar Awards, Malice Domestic, and an upper-crust party in Philadelphia) that took twelve days and covered multiple states. I’m not complaining (except for the humongous suitcase that I came to hate and would gladly have tossed under a train), although I think I left my brain somewhere along the way. But worth it!

Grand Central Market


The first stop was New York, where the conference hotel sat literally atop Grand Central Station. While I had taken trains in and out of there in the past, I never realized there were other parts of the station I knew nothing about. Thanks to a friend who dragged me off to lunch, I discovered the Market and the Food Court. Oh joy.

I ended in Philadelphia, where I used to work. The first thing I did (after checking into my hotel and getting rid of that suitcase) was to head straight to the Reading Terminal Market and eat a cheese steak at the Down Home Diner. The market has been around for well over a century and has an amazing array of foods. I try to stop in every time I’m in town to buy mushrooms (did I mention that Pennsylvania is the mushroom capital of the world?) that I can’t get anywhere else. Chanterelles (you don’t want to know how much they cost), hen of the woods, beech mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, trumpet mushrooms—I snagged them all, and this week my husband and I are eating a lot of mushroom recipes (starting with a lovely risotto…).

Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market
Mushrooms--yes, I bought them all

But the recipe I wanted to share came from my hotel in Philadelphia, Morris House. A colleague alerted me to its existence a few years ago. It’s a tiny place (15 rooms) in an 18th century house in center city, close to all the historic monuments I want to visit. It has been lovingly restored, and each room is different. Where else can you find a real fire burning in the fireplace in the breakfast room?

It also has a restaurant called M. In last year’s book in the Museum Mysteries series, Razing the Dead, I set a romantic scene there, between my protagonist Nell Pratt and her FBI whatever-he-is James Morrison. Nell is sure he’s trying to break off their relationship (she was wrong). For details you’ll have to read Razing the Dead and the forthcoming Privy to the Dead.

I ate at the restaurant in honor of Nell and James. In the kitchen the woman chef called out orders to the kitchen staff, and I was reminded of Gordon Ramsay. I like to know how things work, including kitchens. Gordon came to mind again when I ordered the scallops (if the show Hell’s Kitchen is any indication, Gordon doesn’t think anyone in the world can cook scallops right).

I’m getting to the food, really. After all this, I’m giving you a quick and simple recipe.


Scallops with Ginger-Soy Aioli

I wish I could tell you that I went to the kitchen and demanded this recipe after the first bite, but I managed to restrain myself.

1/2 cup mayonnaise (if you’re a purist you can make your own—I used Hellman’s)
3 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp coarsely grated fresh ginger
1 Tblsp fresh chives, diced finely
Juice of half a small lemon

Simple, isn’t it? Just mix them together and you’re good to go. One piece of advice: taste as you add the ingredients. The amounts are suggestions, and you can tweak them as you like. You could also add garlic (with restraint!), or cayenne (just a dash) or horseradish (a pinch).

The aioli--looks so innocent, doesn't it?

Sauté your scallops briefly in butter, with the aioli on the side for dunking. Serve immediately with salad greens lightly tossed with vinaigrette. I found that the scallops are the perfect complement to the aioli, because their sweetness cuts the tartness just a bit. But you can use any white fish. Heck, use the stuff as a marinade for chicken—it’s that good.

Look, Gordon--I can cook scallops!

BTW, for a cheese course I ordered unpasteurized sheep cheese (which the menu described as “musty”), which came paired with a dollop of butterscotch sauce. I know, it sounds crazy—but the combination worked. That invisible chef has a wonderful sense for flavors.


Privy to the Dead (Museum Mystery #6), coming June 2nd!

Nell Pratt, president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, has something to smile about thanks to a generous donation from a major Philadelphia developer who’s willing to help update their museum. But renovations have barely begun when a man is struck by a car in front of the building and killed.

The victim is a construction worker who found a curious metal object while excavating an old privy in the museum’s basement. Nell thinks the death is somehow connected to the Society, and her suspicions are confirmed when an antiques expert reveals a link between the objects from the cellar and a fellow staff member’s family.


Now Nell must unearth a mystery with ties to the past and the present. Because when someone is willing to kill over scrap metal, there’s no telling what they’ll do next…


Available now for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.






Friday, February 13, 2015

Irish Scallop Chowder

by Sheila Connolly


from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook 2012



If you think Irish pub food is dull and heavy on the cabbage, think again: this is a great cookbook that I treated myself to, with wonderful pictures, and I’ve bookmarked a lot of the recipes and am working my way through them. And of course I have to visit a lot of Irish pubs to make sure the recipes are accurate!

A few weeks ago I found that our local market had started to stock a new line of fish products: a mixture of shellfish, shrimp and whatever, flash-frozen. Since this recipe called for a variety of seafood, it was perfect, and it was exactly the right amount. I figured it had to be a sign that this dish would be on the menu.

I'm a sucker for baby squid (ooh, a pun!)





It’s a fairly quick and easy recipe—and definitely tasty. I served it with St. Brigid’s bread, which rounded out a nice meal.



Irish Pub Scallop Chowder

3-1/2 Tblsp butter

9 oz large scallops, quartered
4 bacon strips, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 starchy potatoes (russets or Yukon Gold), diced
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups chicken stock (or you could use fish stock)
2 cups whole milk, scalded
9 oz. mixed cooked seafood (shrimp, mussels, etc. (not fish)
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallops in batches (not all at once) and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. [Note: you may find that the scallops release a lot of liquid, which makes it hard to brown them. Don't worry about it--you just want to cook the scallops lightly. The remaining liquid will cook down over the next few steps.]



Add the bacon to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to brown.

Add the onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. [I have a confession to make: I don’t really like celery. I find that if I include it in a dish—and I know a lot of recipes do!—the result always tastes too much like celery to me. It’s up to you if you want to include it.] Season with salt and pepper, then cover and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables start to soften.



Add the thyme to the vegetables. Pour in the stock, cover the pan, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.



Remove the thyme sprigs. Mash a few of the vegetable with a spoon, to thicken the soup. Pour in the milk (which will already be warm, since you scalded it--a microwave works well for this).

Add the scallops and mixed seafood to the pan. Cook until they are heated through but don=t let the mixture boil.




Serve in warm bowls.


Ah, yes, the book: An Early Wake, third in the County Cork Mysteries, released February 3rd.

#10 in Barnes & Nobles mass market mysteries! #12 in all Barnes & Noble mass market books! And! (Drumroll, please) #10 on the New York Times Mass Market Bestseller list!

The reviews have been so lovely. I'm thrilled that I've been able to make readers "see" Ireland the way I do, and now they want to visit. It's worth the trip!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Scallops over a bed of Creamed Spinach


Is anyone here from Indiana? Hope so, because I'll be appearing on WNIT's Dinner and a Book television show on April 23rd, but the show broadcasts only in Indiana.

I'll get a copy of the program, and when I do (the week it airs, I believe) I'll post it on my website. What a fun experience. We had TelePrompTers and three cameras and even an audience. The host of the show, Gail Martin, couldn't have been nicer. Brenda, the director, Angel, Paul, and so many others were supportive and just plain fun to hang out with. I had a blast, can you tell?

Anyway, as Gail and I talked about the White House Chef series and the Manor House series, we made dinner. And of course we used recipes from Buffalo West Wing!

Gail prepared a Greek salad, and Nantucket sea scallops. I prepared hummus and creamed spinach with olive oil and shallots. We finished off with the Triple Berry Cobbler that Gail had prepared ahead of time. Too fun.

I should have taken pictures between segments, but I forgot. I think I was just too nervous and excited to think about anything else but not looking like a goofball on camera.

The recipes, as they appear in Buffalo West Wing, are available via the PDF (and they're also in the back of the book, natch). My personal changes and tweaks, however, appear below

Nantucket Sea Scallops

(I'm not 100% sure mine came from Nantucket, but the ones I found were on sale. Just as good! There's a whole section on how to clean scallops in Buffalo West Wing, but I bought the kind that come pre-cleaned in nice vacuum packs.)

2 tablespoons of canola oil (I used olive oil instead)

4 tablespoons butter

3 cleaned scallops per person for an appetizer portion. 6 cleaned scallops per person for a main course (I used an entire 1 lb bag and boy did these guys shrink!)

1 clove garlic, smashed, cleaned, and finely minced (because I had more scallops and we love garlic, I upped this to 4 cloves)

Salt and pepper, to taste

You will need a sturdy cast iron skillet or equivalent. You want something with a heavy bottom that will evenly distribute the heat from your cooktop, and not have hot spots that might burn the scallops. Place the pan on a burner set on medium-high heat. Place the canola oil in the bottom of the pan with the butter. Mix together as the butter melts. Toss in the minced garlic and give the pan a stir. Let the oil heat up until it is hot, but not smoking. You can test the surface to see if it’s hot enough by carefully dropping a drop of water into the pan. If it sizzles and dances across the surface, the oil’s hot enough.

Using tongs, transfer the scallops to the prepared hot oil in the pan. Let brown for roughly 2 minutes, then turn to brown the other side. Remove cooked scallops from skillet onto warmed plates. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on a bed of Creamed Spinach with Olive Oil and Shallots (below).

**Okay, for the record, I didn't have a cast iron skillet. I used my non-stick skillet, and I have to say, the scallops did not brown as nicely as they should have. When Gail Martin of Dinner and a Book did this, hers came out so beautifully. Gosh, I wish I would have taken a picture. Lightly browned, beautiful scallops. Mine were cooked and tasty. Just not so pretty.***

Creamed Spinach with Olive Oil and Shallots

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup shallots, finely minced

10–12 oz. fresh spinach, washed, dried, and trimmed to remove tough stems (I used frozen. Should have doubled this recipe. Wow, it was good!)

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup liquid—milk, chicken broth, or white wine, depending on personal taste

1 pinch fresh ground nutmeg

¼–½ tablespoon salt, or to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper

¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Put olive oil in a sturdy cast iron skillet or equivalent over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add shallots, stirring until they are clear, about 1 minute. Add spinach, and continue stirring until mixture is heated through and reduced and wilted, about 2–3 minutes.

Remove from heat. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk vigorously until a smooth bubbling paste forms, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the liquid. Keep stirring until you have a thickened sauce. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk. Add in the spinach mixture. Stir to coat. Plate. Top with grated cheese. Serve.


My husband commented at least three times about how great this meal was. He's not much of a seafood eater, so this was high praise indeed. And he liked the spinach so much, he finished it. I really should have made more! Would have been a nice leftover for lunch today!

These are really super easy to make. And they take surprisingly little time. Try it!

Enjoy,
Julie

Come visit me on my blog or website if you have a chance:
eBook Blog - NEW!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Guest Blogger - Sally Goldenbaum!

Please welcome our guest Sally Goldenbaum.
This is a real honor for me, because I am
a HUGE fan of Sally's work!


We will be holding a drawing this week to
win an autographed copy of one of Sally's
books, just send us an email or comment on
any of our blogs this week to be entered in
the drawing!!!






My thanks to Jenn for the invitation to guest
on this wonderful blog. What a treat to be in your kitchen!

Jenn asked for a little personal info first—and I’d be happy to
provide some highlights from my checkered past. Here goes, in
staccato fashion: I’m a Wisconsin native, attended an all-girls
boarding school in Green Bay (yes—go Pack!), became a nun and
taught Latin in St. Louis, left and finished graduate school
(Indiana U), taught philosophy, married a nice Jewish man,
worked at the PBS station, WQED in Pittsburgh (when Mr. Rogers
was there—a highlight!), taught, wrote, edited medical ethics
and veterinary journals, had wonderful children (and now
grandbabies). I’ve written about 30 novels, and
am having a most delightful time with mysteries. Exploring
murders is such excellent therapy when the dishwasher breaks,
the basement leaks and the dog has an accident in the living
room. My husband and I live in Prairie Village, KS, in a brick
house with a screened porch where much of my writing is done,
weather permitting. I’m fortunate to have a writing friend in
town who joins me there on most nice days. We write during
daylight hours, keeping each other on task, then toast our work
with a glass of wine at sundown.


My current Obsidian (NAL) series’ name is The Seaside Knitters Mysteries. The stories are set in Sea Harbor, Mass, a town on Cape Ann, just north of Boston. The town is fictitious but the place is not—and I hope to lure readers to visit this wonderful area someday. (And it isn’t pure coincidence that I have a daughter, son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren living there …) The four seaside knitters range in age from 33 to 80, and become fast friends over knitting in Izzy’s shop, eating Nell’s pasta, enjoying Birdie’s fine wine, and delighting in Cass’s tales of lobster fishing off the Cape Ann shores. Together they knit beautiful sweaters and scarves while they explore the lives, loves, and mysterious secrets of their neighbors and friends. (Death by Cashmere, Patterns in the Sand, and Moon Spinners [spring 2010])—and a, for-now, nameless Seaside holiday mystery [Nov. 2010]).
I started the knitting mysteries after writing the Queen Bees mysteries. These three novels are set in Kansas and focus on several women in a college town who quilt together Saturday mornings and solve perplexing crimes occurring right in their own backyard.




Jenn’s questions:

Is your protagonist a salt or a sugar person (as in would she reach for a chocolate bar or a bag of chips in times of stress)?
Definitely chocolate …. A hot fudge sundae might be perfect for Nell. For 80-year-old Birdie, perhaps a mango mousse Masala chocolate—soft and creamy with a hint of heat, just like Birdie. Izzy would go for creamy milk chocolate with almonds hidden inside. And Cass always has a stash of dark chocolate bars hidden somewhere in her boat for days the sky threatens or all the lobster traps are empty.
Does your protagonist like to cook?
Nell Endicott holds the knitting group together with her special salads and pastas that she brings to each gathering at the Seaside Knitting Studio. (The group originally got together over clam sauce linguini and a fine peach cobbler.) She loves to cook (and has my dream kitchen) — and it all plays out nicely because the seaside knitters love to eat.
Nell and her husband Ben also host summer Friday night dinners on their deck. It’s open to all, and is a bit like the loaves and fishes—there is always enough grilled salmon to go around and the martinis never seem to run dry.

And now, for the author, what is your idea of a perfect meal?
Ah…….do I have to have just one? I love sea bass or fresh tuna, cooked rare on the grill with a lemon butter and wine sauce. Pasta and grilled vegetable with flakes of basil or cilantro tossed in at the last minute would be nice and just a hint of hot sauce. And crisp white wine, a nice pinot grigio perhaps.
Do you have a recipe to share with us?
This is an improvised recipe that changes every time I use it.
Linguine and Scallops in Thai Sauce
3 1/2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
4 large mushrooms, sliced
1 lb sea scallops
1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 T light brown sugar
1 1/2 T fish sauce
2 T fresh lime juice
1 cup snow peas
1 package linguine
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
½ cup parsley
1 T fresh ginger, grated (I keep ginger root in a baggie in the freezer to keep it form going bad. Also, it’s easy to grate when it’s frozen)
1/2 T Thai green curry paste (check for taste—can be stronger or weaker)

Heat 2 T oil in pan until hot but not smoking, then sauté onions and garlic, until lightly browned. Add snow peas and mushrooms and sauté for just a few minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Pat scallops completely dry and season with salt. Heat remaining oil until hot, then cook scallops until browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side (do not overcook. They should be slightly undercooked).
Add vegetable mixture back in, then rest of ingredients and simmer, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Cook linguine in salted water until al dente. Drain.




This sounds delicious!!! Thanks so much
for joining us, Sally!



For more information about Sally
and her work, check out:

www.sallygoldenbaum.com