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Seared scallops with green lentil and salad

9/26/13 | By Paul Suplee CEC PCIII

We were driving down the road a few weeks ago during a day of shopping and sundry tasks when my daughters started discussing alliteration.  I laughed to myself as they discussed the many facets that comprise both sides of the argument of whether one should employ this literary technique in their writing.

Known to alliterate myself on occasion I started in the conversation with a question.  "What worldly woe prevents proper penning?"  It was easy to see that the laughs were courteous at best, stifled more by the groans of agony arising from my passengers.

I continued, "What about the letter P?"  They looked confused.  "The letter P is my favorite letter for alliteration. Take python, for example, or psychology and pterodactyl, philosophy, and let us not forget pneumatic.  Paul is practicing palpable prose!"

More grunts of discontent made their way forward with maybe a few appreciative laughs.  There was no way to differentiate between the two.   The car went silent as we drove on and I could not discern whether it was a moment for pause and reflection or silence in the hope of not encouraging me to continue.  I guess I will never know.

Driving in the relative quiet, disturbed only by the purring of the minivan's engine, I reflected on what just happened.  My children were discussing alliteration.  That's pretty cool.  In a day and age when more kids are talking about disturbing shows like Breaking Bad (and don't get me started on why parents are letting their kids watch that show) than their schoolwork, it was refreshing to hear a somewhat intelligent conversation amongst the younger generation.

Tired from a long day of pseudo-intellectualism, chores and driving, we returned home where I decided to make one of my favorite dinners; Scallops on French Lentils.  The day was warm but the night is already starting to take on a bit of chill.  This is truly the greatest time of year; shorts all day and sweatshirts at night, and if we have enough time, a bonfire.

Pulling out the dry scallops, it was time to get to work.  When you buy scallops, go out of your way to buy 'dry'.  Have you ever purchased large scallops and then cooked them to the size of a dime or small button?  That is because they were 'wet' scallops, meaning that they were injected with brine to make them weigh more.  As you cook them, you are merely cooking out the salt water and returning the mighty scallop to its unimpressive size.

When I make this dish I combine the sweet scallops with salty country ham.  These top creamy lentils and then I serve the whole mess with a crisp asparagus, tomato and onion salad.  It fits the bill for a late summer, early autumn dinner.

And as I cook our dinner I muse merrily at my meal.  Drat those kids.  Now I can't stop alliterating.  Well, at least I can drown my sorrows in some sweet and salty scallops; seriously.

Seared Scallops on Lentils

serves 4

16 ea. Large dry scallops

Salt & Pepper, as desired

2 Tbsp. Brown butter (recipe follows)

1 Tbsp. EV Olive oil

4 oz. country ham, julienne and fried

1/4 c, Dry white wine

1.     Pat your scallops with a towel and season

2.     Heat a sauté pan and add your butter and oil

3.     Sear the scallops on a high heat until you have a nice crust on the first side

4.     Turn them over with a fish spatula or palette knife and cook until the scallops are barely under-done

5.     Remove from the pan and deglaze with 1/4 c. Dry white wine

6.     Drizzle this over the scallops

7.     When ready for service, place on the lentils and top with fried julienne country ham and serve with the vegetable salad

French Green Lentils

1 c. Green lentils

1 1/2 c. chicken stock, unsalted

1/4 c. Dry white wine

1/2 ea. Red onion, finely diced

2 clove mashed garlic

1 ea. Bay leaf

Salt & Pepper as needed

butter, as needed

1.     Place everything except the butter in a saucepan and bring to a simmer

2.     Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender

3.     When done, add some chunks of butter and blend well

4.     Adjust the seasoning and keep warm until service

Tomato, Asparagus & Onion Salad

serves 4

1 ea. Large beefsteak tomato, wedged

1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed, blanched and chilled

1 ea. Vidalia sweet onion, julienne

2 sprigs fresh thyme, picked

1/4 c. EV Olive oil

Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, as needed

Good red wine vinegar, to taste

1.     Toss the ingredients in the olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper

2.     Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before serving, but don't let it go much longer than 30 minutes


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