Great Summer Meal
I was reading my August 2008 edition of Bon Appetit while sitting on the beach and found this summer recipe that looked perfect for all the local ingredients available this time of year. Jersey corn, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and local scallops that turned out to be a disappointment.
I purchased local scallops over frozen scallops because they were supposedly fresh and were on sale. I purchased them in a supermarket, not a local fish store which may have been a mistake too. They turned out to be chewy and rubbery so I will be making this dish again with day boat or diver scallops some time in the future.
The good news is the dressing and salad were incredible and very easy to prepare. In fact you could use the salad with any grilled fish or shellfish as well as chicken or maybe even pork. We did grill nectarines but I would like to try this dish with fresh, local Jersey yellow peaches.
Grilled Scallops and Nectarines with Jersey Corn and Tomato Salad
For the Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 and 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea Salt, to taste
For the Basil Puree:
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
24 sea scallops, side muscle removed and patted dry -- (If you can't find day boat, diver or dry scallops, opt for frozen)
3 firm but ripe nectarines cut into 6 wedges (You may want to try peaches too)
Olive oil for brushing on scallops and nectarines while grilling
1 and 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels cut from 2 large ears of fresh Jersey corn. (Of course any fresh corn will work)
24 grape tomatoes cut in half
1/3 cup thinly sliced basil leaves for garnish
Sea & freshly ground black pepper, to tastse
How To Prepare At Home
How to Prepare Dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime peel and chilly powder. When combined, slowly add the oil while whisking quickly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to Prepare Basil Puree:
Start by blanching the basil leaves in a small pot of boiling water that has been salted for just 30 seconds. Drain in a colander and squeeze as much of the water as you can out of the basil.
Coarsely chop up the basil. The article suggests to use a blender to puree the basil with oil, but I found the blender we had available at the beach house we were renting didn't do a very good job. If you have a mini food processor, try that. If not, I would chop the basil up fine by hand and then whisk together with the oil. Season with some sea salt.
Note: Both the Dressing and the Basil can be prepared 1 day ahead of when you are going to make this recipe but be sure to remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using.
How to Prepare the Salad:
Get your grill to a medium high heat. If using a gas grill, this can take 10 to 15 minutes to get the grate hot. A big mistake lots of home cooks make is they turn the gill on, wait a couple of minutes and start grilling. Always preheat the grill the same way you preheat your oven before baking or roasting.
Brush some olive oil on the scallops and nectarines and season with some salt and pepper. Grill the scallops until they are slightly grilled and cooked through. The article says this takes about 2 minutes per side but everyone's grill is different and found that it took a little longer.
Be sure the scallops are completely dry or they will steam and not give you the charring. I think this is one of the many mistakes I made with this dish.
Grill the nectarine sections until slightly charred. Again, depending on your grill, this could take 1 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove and reserve the scallops and peaches until ready to plate.
Plating the Scallops:
If serving 6, arrange 4 scallops on 6 plates. Just before serving, toss 2 tablespoons of dressing with the corn and 1 tablespoon of dressing with the tomatoes. Season both with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon a little corn around the scallops and "scatter" the tomatoes over the corn. Tastefully arrange the nectarine slices on the plate and drizzle a little dressing over the scallops. Finish the plate with a little basil puree & sea salt over the corn and tomatoes.
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