Sauteed Barnegat Scallops With Preserved Lemon Pearl Pasta, Wilted Arugula, Vermouth Nage
“When purchasing, request “dry” scallops. This means the scallops are natural and not injected with saline to plump them up. Dry scallops are a better value than so-called wet scallops, because you’re not paying for water, and the taste will confirm you made the right choice.
“The garnishes on this dish provide great textural balance. The pearl pasta has a risotto-like quality that is always a fan favorite. Allow one week to cure the lemons. They will last for months if stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
“By the way, making the sauce is a great way to use up that open bottle of dry vermouth that no one ever appreciates.”
4 cup clam juice
2 cup dry vermouth
½ cup heavy cream
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb mussels
4 oz broken scallop pieces
4 sliced shallots
2 pc crushed garlic
1 pc sliced celery rib
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 tsp crushed fennel seed
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig fresh tarragon
1 sprig fresh thyme
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Allow to cook for 2 hours. Strain the sauce and discard the solids.
3. In a fresh clean pot, reduce the sauce by ¼ of its original volume.
4. This can be made one day ahead and reheated when you need it.
6 scrubbed lemons
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups olive oil
1. Slice the lemons lengthwise, from end to end. They should be an 1/8th of an inch thick.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the lemons with the salt and sugar.
3. Line the lemon slices like toy soldiers in a non reactive storage container and cover with excess salt/sugar mix.
4. Cover tightly and set in the fridge for 1 week.
5. After one week, rinse the lemons and remove the seeds.
6. Dice the lemons completely. Use the rind, the pith and the flesh.
7. Place in a mason jar and cover with olive oil.
1 cup pearl pasta (aka Israeli couscous)
1 cup diced Spanish onion
1 pc sliced garlic
3 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. On a rimmed cookie sheet or bake-safe tray, toast the pasta in the oven for 10-12 minutes until it takes on a dry, nutty color. Set aside.
3. In a wide, heavy pot add the olive oil and heat for 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent without taking on any color.
4. Add the pasta and coat with the oil and vegetables. Add the water and bring to a boil.
5. Simmer the pasta for 30 minutes. The goal is to evaporate all of the water and yield plump, cooked pasta. If the pan dries out, just add a little more water as needed.
6. Pour the cooked pasta into a flat container and allow to cool.
12 dry, jumbo scallops
4 cups baby arugula
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
salt to taste
4 cups cooked pearl pasta
1 tbsp diced preserved lemons
1 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup water
½ tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
2 cups vermouth nage
1 tsp tarragon vinegar
1. Heat the vermouth nage and season with the tarragon vinegar. Set aside.
2. Rewarm the pearl pasta with the diced lemons, butter and water. Season with the lemon juice and salt.
3. Warm a heavy cast iron pan over high heat for 3 minutes. Season the scallops with salt.
4. Add the olive oil to the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the scallops and sear on one side for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and flip the scallops over. Turn the heat down to medium.
5. Baste the scallops with the butter, taking care not to burn the butter. Let the scallops cook for 2 minutes.
6. Remove the scallops from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
7. In the same pan, quickly wilt the arugula in the used butter. Drain on a paper towel.
8. For family-style plating, choose a large platter and place the pasta in the center. Arrange the arugula in a small mound on top. Place the scallops around the pasta and pour the sauce over.
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