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Simply Seasonal: Scallops work well for ceviche

Sue BarhamDaily CorrespondentVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Far down the coast of Baja California, Mexico, lies a protected lagoon known as Magdalena Bay. During the winter months, the sight of Pacific Grey Whales off these shores lets one know it is mating season. The whales bear their young among a myriad of other wildlife in this safe area. Visitors will see a variety of egrets, ospreys, godwets, sandpipers and other birds, while below the water’s surface lies a treasure – Magdalena Bay scallops.Having spent my childhood summers on Cape Cod, some 3,000 miles away from the Baja, sweet, rich Nantucket scallops quickly became one of my favorite seafoods.Avondale chef, Jeremy Kittelson, enthusiastically encouraged me to try the Mexican mollusk. “Equally tender, the Magdalena Bay scallop has a briny, ocean freshness,” he said. “The delicate flavor is similar to scallops from the Northeast, but these live in warmer waters, and have a longer season.”Scallops from the Magdalena Bay are carefully harvested by hand, to prevent any by-catch or habitat damage. The scallops are plentiful, and with their longer season may be found throughout the year and at very attractive prices. They may be labeled Catarina scallops at your local market.You can use Magdalena Bay scallops in any recipe that calls for their more well-known cousins from New England. They pair well with pasta recipes. Or give them a quick saut, and place atop a salad with a citrusy dressing. Chef Kittelson recommends a native ceviche to complement the crustacean’s Mexican heritage and shares two of his favorite recipes here:Scallop ceviche cocktailSauce:1 cup ketchup1/2 cup V-8 juice1/3 cup fresh lime juice1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil2 Tablespoons Cholula1 teaspoon SrirachaCoarse ground black pepper to tasteSalt to tasteCombine all the ingredients and chill to combine flavors.Scallops:1 pound Bay Scallops2 quarts salted water1 cup fresh lime juiceBring salted water with 1 Tablespoon lime juice to a boil. Place scallops in a colander and immerse into boiling water for 1 minute. Remove colander and immediately run under cold water to stop cooking. Place cool scallops in a clean non-metallic bowl and pour remaining lime juice over. Stir and chill 1 hour. Drain and discard lime juice.Assemble:Marinated scallops2 fresh jalapenos, slivered2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped1/4 cup shredded carrots 1/4 cup white onions, small diced and rinsed1/4 cup cucumbers, peeled and seeded, cut on the bias1 cup chopped avocado2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oilOrange segmentsCilantro sprigsFresh tortilla chipsCombine the scallops, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, carrots and cucumbers in a small mixing bowl. Season with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Place 1/4 of avocado in the bottom of four cocktail glasses. Spoon sauce over the avocado to cover. Spoon the ceviche on top. Garnish with two orange segments and a cilantro sprig. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 4.Pasta with Magdalena Bay scallops and watercress pestoWatercress pesto:2 cups watercress1 cup olive oil1 Tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted1 Tablespoon parmesan, grated1 clove garlic2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juiceSalt to taste Pepper to tastePlace oil in blender and freeze for 20 minutes. Blanch watercress in boiling, salted water for 10 seconds, then shock in cold water. Squeeze excess water from watercress and chop. Add watercress, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the blender and whirl. After 1 minute, add the pine nuts and the cheese and blend for 10 more seconds.Celeriac puree:1 pound celery root, cleaned and chopped1/2 bulb fennel, julienne1 parsnip, chopped1/4 medium white onion, diced1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon honey 2 drops white truffle oil Heat saut pan with a teaspoon oil on medium low heat. Sweat fennel for 5 minutes. Add onions, parsnips, and celeriac and continue to sweat on low heat to keep color white. Stir occasionally until fully cooked. Add honey and truffle oil. In a blender, puree until smooth. Assemble:1/2 pound pasta1 pound bay scallops2 Tablespoons butter1 meyer lemon, quartered and thinly slicedBoil pasta in salted water till tender. In a saut pan, melt butter. Add scallops and sear on one side. Flip scallops and baste with butter. Add to drained pasta and toss. Add pesto and toss to coat well. Mix in lemons. Place puree on two plates. Top with assembled pasta and serve. (Extra puree may be kept refrigerated and served as a vegetable for another meal.)Serves 2.Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur (larkspurvail.com), at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale (avondalerestaurant.com) opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa and features a West Coast-inspired, market-driven menu. sue@savorygroup.com


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