Monday, August 4, 2008

PopPop's Summer Dinner for Two

My grandfather is likely the most genuine romantic I know. A genuine bon vivant in every sense, I like to think that I've been learning from the best when it comes to finding life absolutely delicious- particularly when it comes to love and food.

That said, when your muse and mentor emails you with a new recipe, resistance is futile if it was ever present at all. Without further ado, here is Arnie Baby, verbatim:

There are some food that have such natural flavor that it needs very little, if any at all, additional taste enhancements. Take a nice ripe summer yellow peach. Put on a bib and take a big bite, letting the juice flow over your fingers, your mouth, chin, nose, and whatever. Mmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmm. How could you even think of adding anything to it? Same goes for other food stuff. Such as . . . Well, Jennifer was coming over for the weekend and I was making dinner for a summer evening. So, I went to the local Whole Foods where they have wonderful fresh fish. Got to the counter and the guy asks what I am looking for, so I tell him, something light and tasty. In a nanosecond, he told me "Scallops," and pointed to a tray of wonderful bay scallop shellfish each about the size of my "shooter" marble I used in competition when I was nine or ten years old. I asked about preparation and he told me nothing but rolled in flour and sizzled in very hot canola oil = these babies have natural sweetness.

He was soooooooo right. Here's what I did: I made a salad (details coming up), and started some nice Italian risotto in my ricer = a present from one of my nice female Japanese students a long, long time ago. Then, I patted the 3/4 pound of bay scallops with paper towels and rolled them around in some flour in an aluminum dish. I heated my copper bottom oval pan, sprayed with canola Pam and added high heat canola oil about paper thin. I felt for the heat by holding my palm about three inches from the pan. I tossed the scallops in = remembering the advice to let cooking scallops lie: Don't mess with them or you give up the nice brown toasty bottom you should get. Four minutes later toss them around for an extra minute and then pop them onto the bed of rice. The french baguette was warm from the oven. The wine was L'Ecole #41 Semillon. Bon Appetit. Nice fresh peach = I told you so = for dessert.
Okay, the salad: A small bowl for each of us, lined with the best parts of butter lettuce, some hardboiled egg in slivers, raisins, macadamia nuts, goat cheese, bits of red onion, and (surprise to the taste buds) red pickled sweet peppers. Of course, drizzle some good olive oil, zinfandel vinegar, 1 minced clove of garlic & grey poupon mustard mixture for dressing. Just feel it out.

The photo above is my recreation made the very night I got his email. What's strange is I'd already been craving scallops out loud when this appeared! Dear Universe, right on.

My version was tweaked just a touch. I dredged the scallops in flour with two light shakes of cinnamon and some sea salt in the mix. Gave it a good shake and tossed them in a sieve to release any extra flour. Pan friend them in Pam and they really were perfect. Instead of rice, I served over chopped romaine with dried Michigan cherries, goat cheese, crushed macadamia nuts and some sliced red onion. That dressing combo is tried and true Pop and I stuck with it. Wow. Now THAT'S a summer salad!
Fabuleaux, Pop!

1 comment:

L Sass said...

Yum! My grandfather's emails tend to be about politics, not food, but it's the same adorable old man spirit!