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Thomas The Accidental Gourmet

Monday, November 24, 2008

Scallop Soup

Most of the time when I go to the store to pick something up for dinner, I have no idea what is going to end up on the table. I like to browse around, see what catches my eye, and come up with something on the spot. It's fun. It also turns a shopping trip into an odyssey, as I criss-cross the store trying to find the "right" ingredients as I figure out what they will be.

This past weekend, our friend, Chris, asked if he and I could cook together. So while our wives sat on the back porch drinking wine, we engaged in the manly activity of providing food for the table and spent about an hour rummaging around at my crack dealer, Central Market. We decided on making lamb chops, calamari, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and mixed seafood with home made marinara over linguini But since I'd never made the seafood pasta dish, the lamb chops and asparagus were not going to provide a lot of food, and I'm still struggling with getting calamari cooked just right, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to cook one thing that I knew would taste good. Most importantly, it's easy for all but about three minutes, and then you just have to pay attention.

I particularly like this dish because I really like scallops, but I struggled for several years to find ways to cook them so that they didn't get ruined in the process.

Scallop Soup

What You Need:

Three large sea scallops per person.
1 to 1 1/2 cups of sauvignon blanc. Clos du Bois works.
2 roma tomatoes
1/4 to 1/3 cup oregano. Less if it's fresh
1/3 cup plain yogurt
Salt & Pepper

What To Do with It:

This recipe assumes enough food for 3-4 people. You'll need to increase everything except the scallops if you're cooking for more.

Slice the tomatoes, skin & all, about 3 mm thick.

Put equal parts wine and water into a wide pan. Something in the neighborhood of 10-12 inches.
Add your tomatoes, some salt & petter and oregano & cook on medium heat. Dried oregano will take longer, so you'll have to add some water along the way.

Once you've been cooking for about 20 minutes, your tomatoes should begin to fall apart. Mash them a bit with a wooden spoon to help the process along.

Mix your yogurt with just a little bit less cold water. Stir until it's smooth (this will help your yogurt not be clumpy when it hits the wine). Add to your liquid and continue cooking until your tomatoes are no longer recognizeable as such.

At this point, you should have about 1/2 inch liquid in your pan. Drop in your scallops QUICKLY. Scallops cook in a hurry, so you don't want to tarry.

After about 1 1/2 minutes, turn them over. Once they begin to split on top, they're done (about 3 minutes total, maybe more depending on how many you throw in). Put your scallops in bowls and pour the broth over them.

Drink with the wine you used to cook 'em.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do you do if you use small scallops?

Thomas said...

Ideally, you should get the largest scallops possible.

If you're using bay scallops, you'll adjust your cooking time down about a minute (the exact time will vary depending on how many scallops you have, as the number will affect how great a temperature drop you have in your broth).

Secondly, make certain that you let them come to room temperature before dropping them in (you'll cool the broth less). Third, you're not going to need to turn them because they should be covered by the broth: however, giving them a good stir after about 45 seconds won't hurt.

You'll also probably want to have a slotted spoon to scoop up your scallops quickly, and then heat your broth on medium-high another minute or so.

Scallops should be slightly translucent in the center (i.e. a bit on the raw side). Bay scallops, because of their smaller size, are harder to regulate than sea scallops. After a minute, slice one through. If the center is cold (touch it; it won't hurt), keep cooking. If it's warm or not translucent, pull it out: remember, you're going to pour hot broth over your scallops, so they'll cook a little more, anyhow.