Prepare yourselves to be extremely jealous of me. Honestly, I feel bad gloating, but if you were in my shoes, I know that you would, too. So, I guess I don’t feel so bad about bragging after all. What is my fantastic news, you might ask? Well, I met Gail Simmons this past weekend! You can view the extremely blurry and extremely awesome photo of the two of us here. My friends and I went to Andaz on 5th for Fashion’s Night Out to see David Chang do a cooking demonstration and whiskey tasting (you can view another blurry and dark photo of him here), and while we were walking around, my friend Lindsey spotted her! I was so excited to meet her and she couldn’t have been nicer. My camera phone wasn’t working and I apologized and probably seemed like a huge nerd. I told her how I couldn’t wait for the finale of Top Chef next week, followed by the season premier of Just Desserts, which she will be hosting, and her response was, “I’m even more excited!” It was a great way to end the night!
I had never made scallops before, so I was pretty nervous about it at first! I spent all day trying to figure out the best way to prepare them. I decided on chorizo because I wanted something spicy to play against the smooth taste and texture of the scallop, but I also needed something that was a cool and refreshing against the heat of the chorizo. I had some sweet corn already at home, so I picked up some tomatillos and got to work! I loved the end result for this dish. The scallops were done to near perfection, if I may say so myself. The sear on the top and bottom were golden, a bit crisp, and absolutely delicious. I cooked the scallops in the fat of the chorizo, so a bit of that flavor was infused into them. The chorizo, which is naturally spicy and slightly sweet, was a beautiful contrast with both the scallop and the puree, which was light and delicious. This puree really tastes like each vegetable that was put into it, and even after you’ve finished your scallops, you’ll be scraping your plate for every last spoonful of the puree mixed with chorizo. If you have never cooked scallops before at home, I hope that you’ll set aside your fears, as I did, and give it a try! This dish was something far from what I usually cook, but I loved every bite (and so did Kramer).
- 12 fresh scallops, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ lb. uncooked ground chorizo (if using sausages, remove the casings)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 lb. tomatillos (fresh or canned; if using canned, get the ‘roasted’ variety)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 habanero pepper (I used 2, but found it to be too spicy when paired with the chorizo)
- 2-3 ears corn, kernels removed
- 1 green bell pepper, quartered
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Begin by making the puree. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, then spray very lightly with non-stick spray (such as Pam). Peel your tomatillos, then rinse under warm water to get rid of any of the residue remaining from the leaves. Pat dry and place in a line on your baking sheet. Quarter your onion and peel your garlic and place those on the baking sheet. Wash your habanero pepper and place that on the sheet as well. Brush the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the onions and tomatillos are slightly charred and the garlic is golden. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- When the roasted vegetables have cooled enough to handle, place in a food processor or blender. Add half of the vegetables, puree, then add the other half. Add in the raw corn kernels and bell pepper and puree. Add the salt and pepper, puree one more time, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Place in a bowl and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. You can serve it hot, too, but I think that the cool puree is a nice contrast against the hot and spicy chorizo.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet (you don’t want to use non-stick for this because you want your scallops to have a nice golden sear on each side). Add the ground chorizo and cook for 8 minutes or so, until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl, cover, and set aside. Drain off all but a tablespoon of the chorizo fat and keep the pan over medium-high heat.
- Rinse the scallops and pat them dry – you want to get them as dry as possible. Add the tablespoon of butter to the pan and when bubbling, add the scallops. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until a crisp, golden crust develops. Place the puree on a plate, top with the hot chorizo, and top with 4 scallops for each plate. Serves 3.