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johnnyd

Scallop Divers

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So my pal Rob dropped by with a few scallops yesterday. He'd gone out early and did two scuba tanks on his "secret spot" out here in Casco Bay. There is a Red Tide alert this week but the abductor muscle of the scallop (the part we eat) is not affected. Good thing he has a license to do it as many clammers and mussel aquaculturalists are losing money while they sit on shore and play cribbage. Rob also takes people out fishing on the F/V "Maine Lady III".

Among the bag of treasure he brought by was this gigantic scallop...

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It's about two and half inches wide at the small end. We call these "hockey pucks".

Here's a better look (still perfecting my shutterbug skills). This thing was ginormous so I had to post it for all to see.

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I heard of some chefs in NYC that serve just two of these monsters in a mornay sauce and charge about twenty-five bucks. Could be a bargain.

Since they don't come any fresher, we have to get started on a ceviche right away.

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I'm not a fan of too many ingredients in ceviche. A Peruvian friend of mine, also a diver, once whipped up a stunning version with just lime juice, cilantro, and thinly shaved shallot. The addition of chili pepper in some form is de riguer but his young daughter preferred it without that day.

I'm out of cilantro and it's only five inches tall out in the herb garden so we're going with fennel bulb, shallot, garlic and juice of two limes today. After removing the tough bit on the sides, I took four regular size scallops and sliced them into rounds about a 1/3inch thick.

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I added sliced shallot, one clove coarse minced garlic and fennel bulb, coarsely chopped. Dug out some fresh thai chilis which I cleaned and sliced into ringlets. Of course I forgot I did that until I had to get something out of my eye, and ended up running around like I'm being chased by bees.

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Now the hard part. Waiting! I wrapped the bowl and put it in the fridge. An hour should be fine (everyone has their opinion), but I couldn't resist a taste. It was fresh scallop alright, but there hadn't been time to "cook" in the lime juice. Chili blew my mouth apart for a quick second. Perfect! :smile:

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You are making me so hungry with these wonderful shots. I've never tried ceviche with scallops, always just panfried them in butter. You've inspired me, I must try it now. We have some nice scallops too over this side of the Atlantic and I have a good source, but not as incredible and iimmediate as your band of "good" friends ("good" being an obvious understatement in this instance!).

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Right, then! It's been an hour...

I peeled back the plastic wrap and saw that the formerly transluscent scallop slices were whitened by the acidic juice of the fresh limes.

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Naturally the thinner slices will "cook" faster. Slices that are too thick will get a tough exterior and a silken center. This is not necessarily a bad thing, maybe even preferable to some. In fact, the more Rob-o comes by, the greater chance I'll have to experiment!

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These are very good. The texture of the scallop is no longer so gelatinous but firmer. The wait has allowed the thai chili to meld with the shallot, garlic, fennel and lime, creating an outstanding backdrop to this distinguished sea creature. As I type this the combination still lingers on the palatte. :rolleyes: I still have a reasonable handful back in the fridge marinating so we'll see how they turn out later.


Edited by johnnyd (log)

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My God JD,

That looks good enough to eat! How big is the shell of a scallop that size?

Cheers,

HC

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That looks good enough to eat!

I couldn't take more than two snaps, I was drooling too much. I can't believe I left the rest of 'em in the bowl either! :raz:

Shells run about 7 or 8 inches when they contain meat this size. We call them "platters". They decorate some of the wooden summer camps on the coast. A fishermans co-operative downeast I went to had a really big one nailed to the office wall.

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BEST WAY to eat scallops that big and that fresh is with nothing! Just slice thin and eat with some garnishes such as radish sprouts. Hotatagai is what the Japanese call them. -Dick

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I once lightly cold-smoked some scallops, sliced them thin and made a kick ass ceviche with them. But mine weren't that big. I wish I could find some like that here in Chile. Good job! That ceviche looks delicious.

btw, what do you (or your friend) do with the coral? I like it seared. I fact, chileans never take it off. But I've also done a few sauces with them. Good stuff

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BEST WAY to eat scallops that big and that fresh is with nothing!

You are correct, of course, but like anything you do often enough, one yearns for a little variety at times. :biggrin:

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Okay it's been four hours that our ceviche has been marinating. Upon viewing at this stage, the scallop surface appears straited as the acid is breaking down the cell structure.

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But who wants to get scientific when the best damned scallop ceviche in the world at that moment is begging to be eaten??? :blink:

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The fennel was a good idea. I'm definitely sticking with it. Chilis were a great asset as well. I'll post a recipe in recipeGullet later. BE SURE to use the freshest possible seafood when making ceviche. I've used frozen scallops for ceviche and had excellent results. Ceviche is also a famous hangover cure. Gosh, how did I know that? :wink:

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btw, what do you (or your friend) do with the coral? I like it seared. I fact, chileans never take it off. But I've also done a few sauces with them. Good stuff

USA law dictates that nothing but the abductor may reach port. This was mystifying to a european friend who accompanied me out on a dive trip years ago. She ate the coral raw with a bit of fresh lemon and was in heaven. The law is in place because of the high perishability factor. Indeed, outside the USA the combo is delicious. :huh:

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Thanks for sharing this pure eating experience with us; great pix!

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I went out to get some scallops today, but there are none as the scallop fishermen in Ireland are protesting about government subsidies or something. What a disappointment!

Johnnyd, what did you find was the best marination time for the ceviche, 1 hour or 4? And Godito, I'd be interested in any suggestions you have for making a sauce with the coral. I remember having it served that way in France some time back.

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Johnnyd, what did you find was the best marination time for the ceviche, 1 hour or 4?

For this particular preparation, I'd say the four hour mark yielded the firmer texture for a 1/3 inch thick round slice, and the better marriage of flavours in the lime juice marinade.

The thing of it is, people's preferences vary widely. Being a sushi fan, dipping the freshly sliced scallop slices into the marinade and immediately popping it my mouth was pretty good to me. I have left ceviche overnight or longer and they are more acceptable to people who can't wrap their brain around raw fish. At this point they begin to get tough for my liking, but to others (wait for it...) it tastes like chicken. :wink:

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BEST WAY to eat scallops that big and that fresh is with nothing!

You are correct, of course, but like anything you do often enough, one yearns for a little variety at times. :biggrin:

The grin did not help. Thanks for rubbing it in!

I'm not sure what I think of the fennel, though. with lime? and chilis? it isn't clicking in my mental palate, which is generally quite reliable.

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I'll just add my voice to the chorus: that ceviche looks fantastic. And I definitely need some new friends.

A question: what is scallop coral? Can somebody point me to a photo of scallop innards?

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The coral is a little coral coloured sack of roe attached to the side of the scallop. Sorry I don't have a photo.

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I wish we saw more scallops in the shell with coral.

even in NYC this is rare (I have gotten them at Citerella).

My understanding is this renders the scallop even more perishable and that is the reason.

Is this true?

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On Hell's Kitchen, Chef Ramsay blasted Michael for keeping the roe on his scallop. People here make it seem like it tastes pretty good. I'm guessing the guy on HK just prepared it poorly.

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This could be because the coral cooks more quickly than the scallop.

Regarding the taste, it wouldn't be one of my top cullinary delights. I eat it mostly, 'because it's there'. The actual scallop meat is far tastier as far as I'm concerned. I think that making a sauce with the coral is probably the best use for it.

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This could be because the coral cooks more quickly than the scallop. 

Regarding the taste, it wouldn't be one of my top cullinary delights.  I eat it mostly, 'because it's there'.  The actual scallop meat is far tastier as far as I'm concerned.  I think that making a sauce with the coral is probably the best use for it.

hmm... i wouldn't say no :wink:

the roe is lovely if its nicely seared.

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After a quick search I found this link to a recipe from bbc's Ready, Steady, Cook which features a small picture of the roe sac in the shell with scallop. I've seen better but I'm short on time. The recipe looks interesting too.

Indeed, scallops are apparently more perishable with roe attached, thus the law forbidding their landing by scallop fishermen, at least up here in maine.

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Gorgeous plate, johnny. I love the fennel frond garnish. Beautiful!

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After a quick search I found this link to a recipe from bbc's Ready, Steady, Cook which features a small picture of the roe sac in the shell with scallop. 

Nice one johnnyd. This coral sauce is along the lines I remember, although I think what I had was more of a beurre blanc with coral. Ross Burden is one of my favourite chefs on Ready, Steady, Cook. He also has a profound knowledge of food.

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