scallops and ramp butter; sautéed tomatoes; rainbow chard


untitled (rose scallops) 2005

I forgot to return my memory card to the camera before I shot, or thought I had shot, pictures of this meal, so there is no pictorial record of it; the image above describes several forms of shellfish, and last night we had only scallops, but I like the photograph. I captured it in a fish stall, Pura Vida Fisheries, over 10 years ago at the Union Square Greenmarket.


The scallops were not big, and so would have been less successful on a pan grill than when the are larger, and I was aching to use my new 10-inch tin-lined copper skillet, so that’s where they found themselves last night, sautéed, however briefly, inside a luxury French vessel. I decided to top them with some ramp butter when they were done, mostly because it was there. It was a remainder from preparations for a steak dinner a few days before. It contained both lemon zest and lemon juice, so nothing more would be needed to finish the scallops, except that I also had a lot of micro beet greens left from a container bought last Friday (it was the smallest they had at the time), so they ended up dressing up the flavors – and altering the color scheme.

The tomatoes were sautéed whole, and spring garlic finished the dish; it was an allium from Nevia No’s just-retired Bodhitree Farms, bought on her last day in Union Square, and it and the remainder of the bunch will be my final physical connection with her genius.

The rainbow chard was also from Nevia’s farms, and it was as sweet and beautiful as the first half of the same bouquet had been.

  • twelve medium scallops from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, rinsed, dried very thoroughly, sautéed in a heavy tin-lined copper pan, 2 minutes on one side, 1 on the other, removed to 2 warm plates, spread with a ramp butter (ramps from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, quickly par-boiled, dried and chopped, mixed with softened butter, organic lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper, then placed in the refrigerator until ready to be used, but removed one hour before the meal, to soften), micro beets from Two Guys from Woodbridge scattered over the top
  • eight Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, each punctured with a small skewer, sautéed in a little olive oil until they began to soften, seasoned with salt and pepper, removed to a warm bowl, then 1 stem of spring garlic from Bodhitree Farms, thinly-sliced bulb and wider-sliced greens, immediately tossed into the still-warm pan in which the tomatoes had cooked, stirred a few seconds, then the garlic and tomato juices poured on top of the tomatoes themselves, followed by a sprinkling of chopped oregano from Eataly and lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • rainbow chard from Bodhitree Farms, sautéed with olive oil, finished with a squeeze of juice from an organic lemon, some crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chili
  • the wine was an Oregon (Willamette) white, Scott Kelley Pinot Gris Willamette 2015
  • the music was Aulis Sallinen’s Piano Trio, Op. 96, and his Symphony No. 4, Op. 49