Posts tagged ‘clams’

June 7, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Scallops…and the Honorable Sigrid

Some people design a room around a prized piece of art or furniture. Margie designed a basement room around her foos ball table.  Likewise, many people will design a meal around a key ingredient or bottle of wine. When Mike’s mom, Betty, was in town last week, her prized bottle of Bergstrom Sigrid Chardonnay was our inspiration. We like Chardonnay, but have never tasted a Chardonnay this heavenly. This wine is nimble and performs a waltz on your tongue.  Feel free to snicker at this description (I sometimes mistake wine reviews for the Sunday comics), but only after you’ve sampled it.

The Honorable Sigrid

With Sigrid as our inspiration, we decided to make Parmesan crusted scallops with a clam and bacon risotto. Sauteed spinach was thrown in to provide veggie balance and aesthetics.

This recipe has a short cook time so it was important for us to employ a ‘mise en place’ strategy.

Terminology Time-outmise en place
 [MEEZ ahn plahs] is a French term used to describe the approach of getting ingredients assembled and prep work completed before launching headfirst into cooking. The key objectives are to ensure you have all the ingredients necessary and have them ready to go so that you can execute the recipe properly at the proper times. This prevents

With three cooks in the kitchen, we divided, conquered and had all of our ingredients prepped before starting in on the risotto.

  • Bacon was cooked and vegetables were chopped for the risotto.
  • Lemon Thyme Beurre blanc was started.
  • Scallops were prepped: they were washed, the legs were removed, and they were coated in the flour mixture. The parmesan mixture was assembled and egg was beaten (we held off on coating in the parmesan mixture until right before cooking the scallops).  

flouring the scallops

  • The butter used to fry the scallops was clarified.

Terminology Time-out: Clarified butter allows you to cook using butter (with all the yummy flavor that only butter can provide) at high temperatures without burning the food. To clarify butter, melt unsalted butter until it bubbles and spoon the foamy fat off the top. Pour off the clear liquid into a container (leaving behind any thick, milky residue at the bottom).  You can even freeze clarified butter if you seal it tightly.

Clarifying Butter

We had to open a bottle of dry, white wine to use in our risotto so we enjoyed an aperitif of Anne Amie vineyard’s Pinot Blanc after starting the risotto but before beginning to cook the scallops.

Clam and Bacon Risotto


Parmesan Crusted Scallops with Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc

Makes 4 portions

8 each        large sea scallops with foot removed

to taste       salt & pepper

½ cup         flour

1 each         egg, whisked

1 cup           Japanese bread crumbs (Panko)

¼ cup         Parmesan cheese, shredded

½ cup         clarified butter  (can use olive oil, if need be)

1                   recipe Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season each scallop with salt and pepper and toss with flour. Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese. Dip each scallop in egg, then press into bread crumb mixture, coating on all sides.

Preheat clarified butter in a large sauté pan.  Fry each scallop on both sides until golden brown.

Scallops before browning

Scallops after Browning

Place scallops on a baking sheet and bake for 3-4 minutes, until done. Serve with Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc.

Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc

20 each             lemon thyme sprigs

½ cup               Marsala wine

1 T.                  chopped onion

¼ cup               water

1 T.                  heavy cream

¼ lb.                whole butter, cut in cubes

as needed        salt and pepper

Directions:

Pull 1 tsp. lemon thyme off the sprigs and chop finely.  Reserve.  Save the rest of the sprigs for steeping in the wine.

Bring Marsala wine and onions to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Cook until it has reduced in volume by half. Add water and return to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add lemon thyme sprigs and steep for 20 minutes. Strain the wine mixture and return to sauce pan.  Add cream and chopped lemon thyme.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat.  Whisk in butter cubes one at a time.  Let the butter melt and be incorporated before adding the next cube. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

As planned, we finished cooking the scallops last. We assembled a generous portion of risotto before planting the mammoth scallops and token greenery around it. The scallops were outstanding and extremely decadent. And did I mention the Sigrid???

The Final Dish


May 9, 2011

and we’re off…

Welcome to the blog!!!  This is our first attempt at joining the blogging world, so this may start out a bit rough, but hopefully will improve over time.  We really wanted to be able to document our fun, culinary expeditions in the kitchen, around town, and on our travels.  Cooking and good food is a passion of ours that we thought we could share.  We hope you enjoy riding along with us on our expeditions.

First up…

Linguine with clams

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb           littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • A few tablespoons flour
  • 2               tablespoons olive oil
  • 3               cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 3               slices on bacon, chopped (or pancetta)
  • 1/2 t.        chili flake
  • 1               lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup        white wine
  • 2 T.           parsley, finely chopped
  • 8 oz          linguine, cooked al dente
It is important that you find fresh clams for this recipe.  We are firm believers in fresh, high quality ingredients, not only for how they taste, but for our health.
You want to purge the clams first, which just means you’re making them spit out whatever sand they have left in them. Put the clams in a large bowl, cover them with cold water, and add a few tablespoons of flour. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
Change the water once or twice more.
Rinse them off, drain them, and set them back in the fridge.  (I had never done this before, but I didn’t taste any grit in the meal, so I guess it worked!)

ingredients are ready for cooking (clams are purging in the fridge)

Mmmm, bacon.

In a large pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until almost crisp.Add the garlic and chili, and lightly toast them.  Make sure not to burn the garlic, as it will take on a bitter taste.
Add the lemon zest and clams, followed by the lemon juice and white wine.

Cover the pan, and cook until clams open. It should only take a couple of minutes for clams to open, so watch carefully.  Discard any unopened clams.

Clams are ready! Only a couple didn't open...throw those out.

Add the linguine to the pan and mix it in with the clams.

Drizzle with olive oil, add parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Everything is ready to go.

After everything is assembled in the pan, it is time to plate.  I used some new, large bowls that Margie got for us recently and their large sized really helped.  Time to eat!

Dinner is served!

Overall, I think this is a really simple recipe to make and it is a nice, refreshing choice.  It can be made on a weeknight and not take up too much of your evening and really looks fancy for the time you spent on it.  The chili flakes really bring a nice heat to the dish that was surprising.  Make sure not to over-do them, as I think it can get too spicy very quickly.

I paired the meal with a nice NW Pinot Gris From Sass Vineyards.