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Scallops from my test kitchen


foodcyclist
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I'll be hosting a 5 course tasting menu at my house soon and decided that course two will be scallops. Instead of presenting my usual bacon wrapped variety, I decided to play around with flavors and presentation. The four finalists below represent the best that I could think of that evening. I just fool around a bit in the kitchen so I didn't expect these to be 'restaurant' ready but they came out pretty good. I'm trying to decide which one to serve. The scallops themselves were prepared in a similar manner; pan seared and finished in a brown butter saute. The only difference is in accompanying ingredients and presentation. Any comments or suggestions are welcome!

thanks

Savory Scallops: Parsnip puree', basil oil, Thyme

gallery_56555_5296_47923.jpg

Gaucho Scallops: Red Pepper coulis, balsamic reduction, micro greens, blanched carrot with parsley

gallery_56555_5296_986717.jpg

Hot and angry Scallops: Homage to David Burke's Hot and Angry Lobster, Chili oil, a bit of basil oil, fresh lemon...and more chili oil

gallery_56555_5296_426708.jpg

Salmon scallops: Red bell pepper coulis, a bit of balsamic reduction, Thyme and salmon roe

gallery_56555_5296_1194711.jpg

Thanks for viewing. (Assuming this pic upload thing works!) and feel free to comment. Any suggestions would be helpful

Steve

btw- Sorry about the poor pic quality. I blame it on the Pinot Noir!

Edited by foodcyclist (log)
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Those all look nice, and far prettier than I'd come up with. You certainly don't have to apologize for their not being "restaurant quality"!

Which one tasted best to you? I think that should be your deciding factor. For my tastes the chili oil one sounded and looked like too much of a good thing: less chili oil would appeal more to my palate, but if it was just a hint I might like it. I also thought that plate had a bit too much sauce for the dish; the sauce and orange slices kinda hid the main attraction. But that's just me, and I know diddly-squat about plating.

If I were selecting one of these, based on the ingredient list and the looks, I'd go with the Gaucho scallops. The balance of colors is nice and the ingredient list sounds appealing. The first one, with the thyme and basil, sounds tasty but possibly a bit bland. How is it with the parsnip puree?

OK, I've kicked it off. Here's hoping some people who know what they're talking about look in and comment. For what it's worth, you might get more takers if you actually set those photos up so that they're visible in your post instead of requiring someone to link on them. (You have 24 hours to edit a post, so you'll have time until tomorrow morning to make the change.) If you're confused about how to do that, PM me and I'll send you some info.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The Hot and Angry version sounds best of the bunch to me as far as flavors. My personal opinion is that it would look better not hidden behind the pile of lemon slices and without the sauce splashed all over the place. Not criticizing you, I'm just not a fan of huge pools of sauce and stuff all over the rims of plates and bowls. I like a clean look, a drizzle here, a dot there, to me the splashed rims and stuff make a plate look like somebody has already been picking through it.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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The Hot and Angry version sounds best of the bunch to me as far as flavors. My personal opinion is that it would look better not hidden behind the pile of lemon slices and without the sauce splashed all over the place. Not criticizing you, I'm just not a fan of huge pools of sauce and stuff all over the rims of plates and bowls. I like a clean look, a drizzle here, a dot there, to me the splashed rims and stuff make a plate look like somebody has already been picking through it.

I hear ya. That was a bit much in the chili oil dept! I think my plates were a bit small too which amplified the 'busy' factor. Funny thing was it really wasn't all that spicy. I forgot to sprinkle the scallops with cayenne pepper and wondra flour before the saute.

Thanks for the input!

Steve

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Those all look nice, and far prettier than I'd come up with.  You certainly don't have to apologize for their not being "restaurant quality"!

Which one tasted best to you?  I think that should be your deciding factor.  For my tastes the chili oil one sounded and looked like too much of a good thing: less chili oil would appeal more to my palate, but if it was just a hint I might like it.  I also thought that plate had a bit too much sauce for the dish; the sauce and orange slices kinda hid the main attraction.  But that's just me, and I know diddly-squat about plating.

If I were selecting one of these, based on the ingredient list and the looks, I'd go with the Gaucho scallops.  The balance of colors is nice and the ingredient list sounds appealing.  The first one, with the thyme and basil, sounds tasty but possibly a bit bland.  How is it with the parsnip puree?

OK, I've kicked it off.  Here's hoping some people who know what they're talking about look in and comment.  For what it's worth, you might get more takers if you actually set those photos up so that they're visible in your post instead of requiring someone to link on them. (You have 24 hours to edit a post, so you'll have time until tomorrow morning to make the change.) If you're confused about how to do that, PM me and I'll send you some info.

Thanks for the kind words and guidance. They all tasted good in different ways but the 'savory scallops' tasted incredible with the parnip puree, but just a bit muted compared to the 'hot and angry'...

As for making the pics visible I'll take you up on your offer! I'll send you a PM.

Thanks!

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Savory Scallops: Parsnip puree', basil oil, Thyme

gallery_56555_5296_47923.jpg

I see a happy face.

However, out of the four I'm for the hot and angry scallop, though I'd prefer to re-think the accompaniments to the scallop itself. Perhaps something small and cool/soothing/crunchy for all that chili oil and to act as a counterpoint to the texture of the scallop.

Presentation-wise, I'm also for a cleaner look for dropping the lemons; unless they're being used, drop them.

Would you be willing to post photos of the final scallop selection as well as other elements from your tasting menu?

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Would you be willing to post photos of the final scallop selection as well as other elements from your tasting menu?

I'll post the winner this weekend!

I agree that I should lose most of the lemons. Since this is my 'version' of David Burke's recipe I'll keep one of the lemon wedges but perhaps add some deep fried basil leaves and perhaps a fried onion string or two.

Thanks for your comments

Steve

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As far as plate presentation I think the hot and angry scallop would be the best choice and since I can't taste it I would have to refrain from influencing your decision. The bottom line is you have to decide which scallop dish you think is the best tasting. Because It doesn't matter what it looks like if it doesn't taste good. However if you wanted to tighten the plating you cook make that basil better by simmering the oil longer with the shredded basil and then straining it the best of your capabilities. I like the angry I can really see it on the plate and that is awesome.

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Have you thought of doing the scallops another way? Perhaps raw, that way the plates might be prepped ahead of time, kept in the fridge, and then you can spend a little more time with your guests.

Steve, what are the other courses?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Have you thought of doing the scallops another way? Perhaps raw, that way the plates might be prepped ahead of time, kept in the fridge, and then you can spend a little more time with your guests.

Steve, what are the other courses?

Personally, I love the clean, smooth texture of the raw scallop. Of course, that would simplify plating and flavorings as I wouldn't want to compete with the flavor of the raw presentation. I just don't think it would fly with my guests. I have a hard enough time presenting a fish course in the first place! :wacko:

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It's funny though.  I can ride my bicycle 7 hours, covering 200k's and be fine the next day.

Hey! Cool! Another cycling lunatic on the forums. I do a lot of cycling as well. The "Tri" in my "Tri2Cook" user name is a reference to triathlon which is my primary hobby/exercise/stress-reliever and I'm not a great runner so I put a lot of focus on the bike to keep myself in the hunt.

I still think the hot and angry sounds tasty but I don't think it would meld into the overall menu as well as a couple of the others. It would be kinda like a red Ferrari in a lot full of blue and silver Mercedes and BMWs, they're all great but everybody's memory will be drawn to the sporty bright red one. I think the first one would fit in well but you have two courses with potato/parsnip immediately following it so I would probably use a different puree or put them on some sort of salad instead. Fennel maybe? Again, not criticizing. Just my personal thoughts.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Hey! Cool! Another cycling lunatic on the forums. I do a lot of cycling as well. The "Tri" in my "Tri2Cook" user name is a reference to triathlon which is my primary hobby/exercise/stress-reliever and I'm not a great runner so I put a lot of focus on the bike to keep myself in the hunt.

And another. I wonder what that's about. I race for a clubin Minneapolis that is sponsored by a local cafe. Two of our members are professional chefs. There are several chefs in town who are cyclists.

Back on topic, If you are looking for ideas i had a spectacular scallop dish at Morimoto that was thinly sliced raw scallops that were drizzled with very hot sesame oil (infused with other flavors I am guessing) at tableside. Simple and really yummy, maybe the highlight of that meal.

Anyone who says I'm hard to shop for doesn't know where to buy beer.

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My two cents....

I wouldn't have 3 seafood courses all back to back. Seems a bit much. Your menu also looks very very rich...so I might choose the scallop dish that is the lightest and has the most acid, etc.

I think the menu looks nice, like I said just too rich starting out. My opinion, it should build from light---->heavy and alternate fish/meat courses.

But again, I'm sure this is an informal dinner with friends....so don't sweat it too much. The most important thing when hosting a dinner party is to make sure the dishes are good, but still simple and require minimal last minute assembly, so that you can enjoy your time with friends instead of being in the kitchen all night.

Good luck, looks good, and have fun.

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quote"And another. I wonder what that's about. I race for a clubin Minneapolis that is sponsored by a local cafe. Two of our members are professional chefs. There are several chefs in town who are cyclists." unquote

I really can't nail down the connection but I'm guessing it's our pain threashold. Cooking requires stamina and an ability to deal with fatigue, both mental and physical. Cycling is the perfect complement for cooking. Not because it's different but because it's so similar...... Like two twins in the back of a minivan on a cross country trip.

I really don't know what that meant but it sounded good when I typed it.

Edited by foodcyclist (log)
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My two cents....

I wouldn't have 3 seafood courses all back to back. Seems a bit much. Your menu also looks very very rich...so I might choose the scallop dish that is the lightest and has the most acid, etc.

I think the menu looks nice, like I said just too rich starting out. My opinion, it should build from light---->heavy and alternate fish/meat courses."

Very nice input. I was thinking about cramming those dishes together. I justified them by simply thinking that since they were seafood... well how rich can that be. Looking at the menu as a whole I tend to agree. My smoked salmon dish that I'm known for is basically a salad at heart. Perhaps I can introduce that instead and front the scallops with the salmon. that way it's:

amuse--bisque-salmon (salad)- scallops--beef ribs--dessert----------cheese

I think you have helped me more than you think. I can present a strong scallop dish while keeping the main parts of the menu intact without stacking it with too much too soon... or too much of a good thing. Food for thought :raz:

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