Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Scallop Salad

More beets and another salad… Can a girl get tired of such sweet treats?

While the sun decides to let me linger on the streets a little longer, it becomes more difficult after a day at work to take refuge to the kitchen. However, I have beets (the last of them) that need some quick vanishing (as well as a light purse to care for).

Light, sweet and buttery, I decided scallops were an unusual yet natural pairing with the beets. Accompanied with some classic, subtle salad ingredients, this meal is a winner for a quick and painless feast on a warm day.

Asian Pear is given space on this plate. A cross between a crisp, juicy apple and an almost ripe pear, this fruit provides a splash of exotica to the salad. There is a woman I work with who can go on at length about the perfect fruit. She is from the Philippines and wins the fruit battles that ensue when we talk, mentioning it always taste better at home, in the Philippines. I believe this is true for anyone, wherever they may be from: an American will swear their apples are the best only back home, an Egyptian proclaims their dates to be the sweetest only when seated by the Red Sea, and a Haitian will only eat mangoes when on their own shores.

So when I brought an Asian Pear into the office I was sure she would brush me off with another one of her, “oh, back home ours are much tastier. You have not lived…” Sure enough, she saw my pear: “Oh those pears, they grow all over in my country…” Finishing with “it is the only fruit I do not like.” I paused, unable to comprehend how someone could not love a combination of the two greatest fruits: “I prefer your American pears much better. So much sweeter.” And with that, she shrugged her shoulders and walked away. For those who agree, or do not have Asian Pear handy, a regular pear or crisp apple may be substituted in this meal.

I have discussed previously how to pick scallops, here offering an alternate cooking method. They may be chilled before being placed on the salad, or served warm scattered over top. Nuts may also be added to this salad for another crunch.

Makes: 2 servings. Active Time= 10 minutes. Cook Time= 45 minutes (if beets are not already prepared).
* 1 medium beet
* ½ pound Bay Scallops
* 1 Asian Pear (apple or pear is suitable too), sliced thin
* 1 endive head, sliced this
* 2 Tbl blue cheese
* 1 Tbl butter
* 1 Tbl spicy mustard
* 1 Tbl vinegar (tarragon or wine)
* 1 Tbl fresh lemon juice

1) Braise or boil beets according to directions from previous two posts. Slice and place on plate.
2) Warm a pan over medium heat with the butter. Wash the scallops under water. Once pan is warm and butter melted, sauté the scallops about 8 minutes until lightly golden. While cooking, prepare the remaining salad.
3) Arrange sliced Asian Pear and endive on plate. Toss scallops on top, add crumbled blue cheese over whole.
4) In a small bowl mix mustard, vinegar and lemon juice. Pour over salad just before serving.

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