Monday, February 9, 2009

February Fresh Food

One of my favorite things about Nova Scotia is the neverending stream of spanky fresh fish. Jimmy, my dealer, meets the boats coming in late at night on Wednesdays. He chums around with the fishermen and honeys away the last haul they brought in before quitting time (and therefore the freshest). Thursday mornings I buy whatever he recommends and make it for lunch.

It's been a couple months since he offered me scallops. In season, they're $7 a pound. This week they were $12 a pound--still a bargain, given their size and quality. This dish, which is both easy and posh, received resounding praise. I serve mine in scallop shells, but they would be delicious in a dixie cup--any container with a rounded edge will do the trick.

The secret ingredient is Sriracha, my favorite condiment. Although Gourmet magazine recently recommended buying Sriracha (also known as "Rooster Sauce" after the graphic on the bottle) from an import company, I recommend checking at your local grocery store--it's actually produced in California, and is widely available in the United States and Canada.

Rooster Scallops

1 pound fresh scallops, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup white wine
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha, depending on how spicy you think you can take it


Heat a cast-iron skillet on a burner set to the highest setting. While the pan is heating up, toss the scallops with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. When the pan is sizzling hot, carefully and quickly introduce the scallops. Pan fry for 2-5 minutes (depending on size). Cut a scallop in half to test for doneness--the interior should be slighly rare but not raw.

Remove scallops from the pan and turn heat to low. Deglaze the pan with wine, then reduce the sauce by about half. Add Sriracha and spoon the sauce over the scallops immediately before serving.

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