Something of a study in contrasts, with a green theme running through it, but it was also a late-winter dinner with a balance of two very different elements entertained by herbs that are normally associated with warmer seasons.
We liked it a lot.
- one tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter heated in a large enameled cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, one medium clove of a ‘music’ garlic aka ‘strong neck’ garlic from Windfall Farms, sliced, slipped in and cooked, stirring occasionally, until it was pale golden, after which 30 washed and thoroughly-dried Peconic bay scallops [that link is to a discussion of Wareham Bay scallops] from P.E. & D.D. Seafood in the Union Square Greenmarket added and quickly sautéed, without moving, until seared (about 30 seconds), then flipped and seared on the other side (tough to do quickly and completely, no matter how handy the cook may be) for about 30 seconds more, the scallops then removed from the pan and placed on warm plates while the flame was reduced to medium and almost 2 more tablespoons of butter added, the butter allowed to turn a light brown color (although pans with black inside surfaces, like the one I used this time, make this difficult to determine), the heat turned off and about a tablespoon of Whole Foods Market organic lemon juice and a few tablespoons of chopped parsley from Trader Joe’s added and pushed around for a few seconds before the sauce was seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and poured over the scallops on the plates
- about a pound of ‘Magic Molly‘ fingerling potatoes from Race Farm, washed, scrubbed, left unpeeled, dried, sliced lengthwise, mixed inside a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a piece of crushed dried light-colored habanada pepper, and several stems of fresh rosemary leaves from Phillips Farms, roasted at 375º [the oven could have been set a little higher] for about 25 minutes, garnished with some fresh chives, also from Phillips Farms
- a handful of sunflower sprouts from Windfall Farms, drizzled with a little olive oil
- the wine was a French (Loire) white, Sancerre, Sommet Doré 2017, from Astor Wines
- the music was a classic 1992 recording of Bizet’s 1875 opera ‘Carmen’, Claudio Abbado conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, the Ambrosian Singers, and the George Watson’s College Boys’ Chorus, with soloists Teresa Berganza, Placido Domingo, Ileana Cotrubas, and Sherrill Milnes (it shouldn’t surprise anyone that, in 1875, “..its breaking of conventions shocked and scandalized its first audiences.”)
A little aside about bay scalloping:
Jan, who is a member of the P.E. & D.E. Seafood family, told me on Monday at their Union Square Greenmarket stand that bay scallops cannot be harvested on Sundays. When I asked whether that was part of seafood conservation rules, she said, no, that it was a “wives’ rule”, and that it goes way back.
I love the people and culture of the littoral Northeast, including the fact that, at least years ago, virtually everyone occasionally goes clamming, and, where it’s possible, scalloping, including bay scalloping. I pictured generations of wives and girlfriends putting their feet down, telling their husbands, and sons and daughters, that they have to be around the house at least one day of the week, and Sunday would have been an obvious choice (maybe it was at least partly a go-to-church thing as well).
The next day, doing a little research on line, I learned that there may also be a legal basis for the our local paralians’ rule about not harvesting bay scallops on Sundays, although the relevant statute may originate in the same rationale for the wives’ rule described by Jan: Under, “Gear restrictions” in the section of the rules for harvesting the scallops in Peconic bays and other waters in the area, the second of two clauses reads “Bay scallops shall not be taken on Sundays by use of a dredge or other device operated by power.”
So maybe Sunday could be both a day together and a scalloping day, the whole family wading into the water with hand rakes, foraging for dinner, not for the market.
[the second image, an Illustration of Bizet’s opera Carmen published in Journal Amusant, 1875, is from the Wikipedia entry for the opera]