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Monday, April 19, 2010

Seared Scallops with Citrus-Mirin Sauce, Couscous, and warm fire roasted artichoke hearts and white beans

This dish takes roughly 20 minutes...need I say more?

No, but I will. Here's the thing: I get many people saying to me, "yeah, but I don't want to do gourmet all the time." Here's my response, "A CPK frozen pizza takes the same amount of time." They say, "yeah, but the work..." I say, "what, are you afraid of some work?" They say, "no, but I'm lazy. Just want to throw it in the oven and go." I say, "listen jackass, don't ask me questions if you would rather live your life on frozen pizza." They say, "why did you call me a jackass?" I say, "most likely because you are, but it was a friendly call." They say, "wow, that really hurt my feelings. Like everyone else, I like a good meal...just don't want to work for it." I say, "then why are you even having this discussion with me?" They say, "just curious." I say, "ok, so sometimes have a CPK pizza from the freezer and sometimes do this." They say, "Ok." We hug and make up.

Now, a quick word on preparation and cooking order. Your scallops are last. They only take 4-6 minutes, so have them ready to go and do them at the end. Make your couscous first, and as soon as you get that started, get your sauce going. Once both of those are going, start your artichokes. For me, I'm basically doing all three of those items at once, moving from station to station. After a few minutes, your sauce will be done and you can start letting it cool. Your couscous will just be sitting there, so finish your artichoke-bean side and do the scallops then.

Seared Scallops:

Thaw and dry off your scallops. Give them a nice dose of salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick to high with some butter in it, then sear about 2-3 minutes on each side. Do the scallops at the very end, so you can place them piping hot on your plate. If you leave them sitting too long, they'll start to release moisture.

Citrus-Mirin Sauce:

Boil 1/2 chicken broth for 2 minutes. Off heat and let cool slightly in a large bowl. Once cool, add juice from 1/2 lemon, 2-3 tablespoons Mirin, 1 tablespoon ponzu sauce, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 tablespoon ground pepper, 5 drops sesame oil, dash of cayenne pepper. Stir well, return to sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer a few minutes until reduced slightly and thicker. Remove from pan to bowl and let cool slightly.


Follow the directions on the box, if you bought a box kind. If you're like me and you buy couscous in bulk from a place like Henry's that has no instructions, here's what I like to do - Take about 1 cup of chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Pour in about 1/2 cup of couscous, some salt, and a little bit of fresh parsley, and stir. Off the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. If you still have liquid, turn on the meat, stirring frequently for another couple of minutes. This is my basic recipe, but if you want some other dessert or more flavorful couscous recipes, let me know.

Warm Fire Roasted Artichoke Hearts and White Beans:

This was the experiment. My wife looked at my strange while I was making it, so wasn't sure how it would turn out. The thing is, I really enjoy experimenting with food. I'll try anything once, so it doesn't scare me to try and make something that just doesn't seem like it's going to work. Well, this worked!

I used frozen artichoke hearts, thawed them, removed all liquid, and placed on a foil lined tray in my broiler. Drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper first. Broil those until they start to char. They'll release more liquid, so pour it off, turn and char some more. Set aside.

Drain 1 can of white beans. Rinse and set aside. Mince 5-8 cloves garlic, set aside. Mince 1 serrano chili or maybe a jalapeno. Mix in with the garlic. Pour 1 or 2 glugs of olive oil into a frying pan. Add garlic and chili and fry up for 3o seconds or so...don't let the garlic burn! Add white beans and fry on high for 2-3 minutes. Add artichoke hearts. Fry another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to plate. Squeeze some lemon over the top, and add fresh chopped Italian parsley.

That should do the trick!


~ Brock

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