OK I admit I'm not your average cook when it comes to seafood: I grew up on the coast of Maine with a lobsterman father and I've worked in Maine's fishing industry for over 35 years (yikes!). You might think after all that time and experience I'd favor unusual or complicated seafood dishes, but you'd be wrong. I cook a lot of seafood, and I rarely use recipes. Instead, I opt for simple techniques using a few, delicious ingredients. When you start with super premium quality seafood, you don't need complicated sauces or techniques to make something delicious.
With Father's Day coming right up, I thought I'd show you a two easy preparations, one on the grill and one with no cooking required. Both are available as gift kits on my site.
Bacon scallop kabobs:
Of course you could make a simple bacon-wrapped scallop, but why not make a meal of it: snake some bacon around scallops and veggies, throw it on the grill and call it a day (or maybe dip it in some Canceaux sauce before calling it a day). The trick to creating a happy union between bacon and scallops is giving the bacon a generous cooking head start. I like to wrap my bacon in tin foil and cook in a medium-hot oven for 20-30 minutes to render out some fat. Then I'll open the tinfoil package and bake it five minutes or so longer so it just barely starts to brown.
Doing this ensures you can get crisp edges without overcooking the scallops. You can also pre-cook the bacon in the microwave, but this often yields unevenly cooked bacon. Plus you'll likely want to wrap it in paper towels, which will absorb all that delicious bacon fat (what a shame!)
Lately I've been enjoying apricots and onions on my skewers, but you can use whatever you have in your fridge or pantry: mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, pineapple chunks, whatever. If you want to add harder veggies like broccoli or sweet potato chunks I'd recommend pre-cooking them 'til they're almost done (microwave is easiest) so they'll be cooked to perfection at the same time as the scallops. There's nothing fancy about this dish, but the combination of smoky bacon, sweet scallops and veggies is addictive. Plus it's fun.
What do I mean about snaking the bacon? Here's an up-close photo - wrap it like an "S" around the scallops and/or the veggies:
You'll notice some fish in the background - that's another easy preparation: just put a cast iron pan on the grill, get it super hot, add bacon fat (the secret to everything) and then the fish. This allows you to cook even flaky whitefish on the grill.
Cooking time will depend on how hot your grill is: I cooked mine for about 5 minutes total. But don't worry: if you overcook it it'll STILL taste amazing, particularly if you drizzle with a little Canceaux sauce. This is a great way to use up what's in your fridge by the way. Want to mix it up? Add some spices or lime juice or a marinade - you should have fun with your seafood!
This is one of those magic recipes that shocks people the first time they try it: it's indescribably good despite being super simple: slice scallops into three or four discs (depending on how big they are) place on a cold plate, spread or dab with chili paste, spritz with fresh lime juice and sprinkle with crispy fried shallots and torn cilantro leaves. I know it sounds too simple to be true, but trust me: this dish is one of those magical combinations that everyone loves.
You might think "that sounds interesting, but RAW scallops?" Yup. Raw. Downeast Dayboat scallops are delicious raw, but the texture will likely impress you even more than the flavor (and that's saying something!) Since, unlike "regular" scallops, Downeast Dayboat scallops don't ever touch fresh water ice, their texture is uniquely silky, buttery, toothsome deliciousness. Seriously: this dish will knock your socks off. Make it for your friends and they'll think you're a kitchen genius. Actually, make it for your friends and you WILL be a kitchen genius.
These are great dishes any time of year, but since Father's Day is approaching I'm offering them as kits: order a bacon scallop kit or a scallop crudo kit and your father will be bragging to all his friends for weeks to come :)
And speaking of fathers:
This Wednesday will mark five years since my father died unexpectedly while jogging around his favorite fishing pond. As a child I idolized my father, and that didn't change as I grew into adulthood. He was a genuinely happy man who lived the life he wanted, because hey, why wouldn't you??
With Father's Day coming up, I hope you'll take the time to call your dad to tell him you love him and let him tell you a story or two.
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.
"You're not here for a long time: you're here for a good time!" - Peter Brawn