- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Scallops, with their ivory color and delicate sweet taste, are a wonderful addition to any recipe repertoire. They are so perishable, though, that you need to be careful buying and preparing them. Otherwise, their subtle charms will elude you.

Supermarkets offer one or two types: large sea scallops, which are 1 to 2 inches in diameter and up to an inch thick, and bay scallops, which are generally the size of a pencil eraser. (As an aside, better fish stores may also offer day-boat scallops, a marketing term that means the scallops of whatever size are caught and quickly brought to stores.)

Sea scallops and bay scallops are available most of the year. You can choose the size that best suits your recipe. Bay scallops are excellent in a quick saute. Sea scallops are great broiled, grilled or sauteed.

The larger sea scallops cost more, generally. Scallops that are in the 20- to 30-to-a-pound range are appropriate for most recipes. Buy 12 ounces for a satisfying serving for two.

Select scallops that are ivory to cream in color. Sticky scallops are also fine. However, if the scallops smell fishy or sour, they may be spoiled and should be avoided. If possible, cook scallops the same day you purchase them to capture the marvelous flavor.

Scallops with lime butter

Lime butter (recipe follows)

12 ounces sea scallops, halved to two thin slices each

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Lime wedges

Prepare lime butter and chill. Place scallops in a plastic bag with flour, salt and pepper. Shake to coat.

Combine butter and olive oil in large skillet and heat. Add scallops, half at a time, to avoid crowding. Cook over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden. Remove from skillet and immediately toss with lime butter. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over individual portions. Makes 2 servings.

LIME BUTTER

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon lime zest

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1/16 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine butter, lime zest, chili powder, salt and pepper in a cup. Using a fork, mash to a paste. Chill at least 10 minutes.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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