The Washington Times - April 1, 2009, 10:23AM

by Tom Pizzaca;  Exeucitve chef, The Imperial Hotel, Chestertown, Maryland

Chef Tom Pizzaca, The Imperial Hotel, Chesterown, MD (Photo/Carol Clayton Photography)

Ok so who in the hell doesn’t do a scallop taco right?

I feel like the idea is as old as the shrimp quesadilla. However, I have combined more of an Asian flair to this classic and believe it plays very nicely.

To start, you need very good scallops.

This is important because the dish works better when the scallops are left rare in the center with a crispy carmelized crust.

Add a refreshing crunch to contrast the malleable texture of this shellfish and some creamy thai basil and lime aioli and you may find it very much like a southeastern asian sushi roll on a fried flour tortilla.

It works, trust me. This recipe will make about three tacos.


Photo/Carol Clayton Photography


Scallop tacos with pickled cucumbers and Thai chilies and basil lime aioli.

You will need:

3 ea     Fresh dry packed U-10 scallops

1 ea    English cucumber, peeled and julienned

1 ea    Thai chili pepper

2 tsp    kosher salt

4 tsp    sugar

2 tbl    Rice wine vinegar

2 ea    egg yolks

2 cup Thai basil leaves

3 tbl    fresh lime juice    

1 c    canola oil

1 ea    large flour tortilla

To pickle the cucumber, place julienne of cucumber in small bowl along with thinly sliced Thai chili, sugar, salt and vinegar. Mix well and set aside in the fridge.

You can make the aioli the old fashion way with a whisk, bowl and a tired arm or what I do is place the egg yolks, lime juice and Thai basil in food processor with regular blade attached. Pulse together until basil is finely minced.

Add the oil slowly and it should thicken to mayo like consistency, if to thin add more oil. Add 2 tsp of sugar to finish.

To make the shell you will need a 3 inch biscuit cutter, and large pot for frying , or a fry daddy if you got one, and a pair of tongs.

Cut out 3 inch rounds from the large tortilla shell, heat oil to 350 degrees F, throw in the tortilla round and place your tongs on each end so the tortilla curls up around them making a nice tiny taco shell. Keep the shell submerged in the oil until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Stuff each shell with the cucumber mixture and top with three scallops.  Drizzle aioli on top of the scallops and serve!