Curry-dusted scallops with minted peas

Loosen up: cooking à la minute

Originally appeared in the June 14, 2012 edition of the Southside Times.

My favorite form of cooking is à la minute, which essentially means cooking to order.  Mise en place (or making sure all your ingredients are prepped and portioned) is critical in all applications of culinary arts, but it is particularly important when cooking à la minute.

For this week’s installment, you can see the recipe is composed of these simple ingredients: scallops, peas, mint, some fat, some liquid, and some seasonings—that’s it.  Sure, we all need guidelines to execute a recipe, but I think you’ll see it’s much more fun to wing it in the kitchen.

When you’re ready to cook for your guests, you’re mise en place should already be prepped and arranged in an easily accessible arrangement (why do you think most old-school kitchen are so tightly confined?—it’s easy to keep thing within reach).  Heat your pan with oil, dust your scallops with salt, pepper, and a bit of curry powder, and you’re off.  After removing your scallops, use the same pan to sauté your peas.  Trust me: you can make a show of it and be serving your culinary comrades in no time.

Yes: recipes are important, but it’s more important to have fun and loosen up, and cooking à la minute is an ideal way to be free.

Curry-dusted scallops with minted peas

Serves 2

  • 6, medium-sized sea scallops
  • As needed, curry powder
  • As needed, kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • As needed, olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine
  • As needed, fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter

1.  Heat a medium-sized sauté pan on medium-high heat; add a small amount of olive oil.  Lightly dust your scallops with curry powder, salt, and pepper.  Gently settle scallops onto sauté pan.  Sear scallops until golden brown before flipping to other side (adjust pan with more oil if needed.  When scallops have gained color and are nearly cooked through, reserve them on a plate.  Deglaze pan with sherry wine, scraping fond form the bottom with a wooden spoon; allow to reduce halfway.  Add lime juice and momentarily simmer.

2.  Add peas and stir to heat.  Remove pan from heat and add mint and swirl in butter.  Adjust seasonings before plating peas.  Rest three scallops on top of peas for each serving.  Garnish with extra mint.

Published in: on June 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ahi tuna with asparagus and edamame salad

Chill out without a grill out

Originally appeared in the August 4, 2011 edition of The Southside Times.

With this seemingly unceasing heat wearing out its welcome, it’s safe to assume that toiling in front of the gas grill sounds like torture.  So if you’re waving the white flag at the oppressive temperatures, no sweat.  Just relax and enjoy this easy recipe in the A/C.  Read more after the jump: (more…)

Cavatelli with Sardinian meat sauce

On the radar:  cavatelli

Originally appeared in the February 03, 2011 edition of the Southside Times.

As I write this, local meteorologists are forecasting the potential arrival of a record-breaking snow-and-ice storm.  If the Doppler-radar prophets of doom are correct, then we may all be thawing out from a few days of vicious precipitation.  But no worries.  This recipe, cavatelli with Sardinian meat sauce, will help knock-off the chill.  More after the jump: (more…)

Thai Melon Salsa

Yields 1 Pint

  • 1 pint assorted melons:  honeydew, cantaloupe, crenshaw
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ tablespoon Serrano chiles, minced
  • 1 fluid ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, roasted, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chiffonade

1.  Cut the melons into a small dice, or cut out in balls using a melon-baller or parisienne scoop.

2.  In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients; add in melon pieces.  Chill for several hours before serving.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 6:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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