Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scallops, Jelly, and Pickling

DSC05751 (1300x945)Coffee and morning light,  7am, create contemplative time at 5 Woodside.  The house is quiet (new tenants moved in across the hall yesterday), the garden is sharply outlined in low sunshine and cool air.  I’ve made a cup of strong coffee and am gathering notes for the day.  A pitch upcoming on Isle of Man, business plans to collect from the printer, clinical trials getting underway in Southampton, Cambridge, Groeningen, Hungary…

I deserve a reward when this is done.  Dinner…

I selected a recipe from BBC Food: “Scallops with pickled vegetables, mango jelly, lime and chive sauce.   Prep time: Over two hours”.

Real MasterChef stuff.  Cool: I’m in.

DSC05743 (975x1300)To be fair, I didn’t start until work was done.  Midday, I made a quick run to the printers and post office, then stopped at Waitrose for scallops, white- and rice- wine vinegar, and a parsnip.  Otherwise, it was well past six before I settled in for some serious kitchen work.

DSC05741 (1300x1018) (1300x1018)The Mango Jelly was kind of fun, peeling the mango, finding the outlines of the seed at the center, carving around it: all new.  I didn’t have a puree machine, nor xanthan gum, so I improvised by reducing the fruit with a bit of white wine, then added a sheet of gelatin and refrigerated.  The result wasn’t quite jelly, but it was solid and tasted intensely mango.

DSC05742 (1300x953)The sauce seemed kind of pointless; scallions, wine, reduce, water, reduce, a ton of butter, reduce, strain: yielding flavored butter.  Nonetheless, it had a good depth.

DSC05744 (1300x908)When I think of pickling, I think of Korean Kimchi, burying cabbage in a pot of vinegar and spices in the back yard and letting it ferment for months.  I’ve seen the TV cooks whip up pickled sides in a hour though, so I  gave it a run.  DSC05745 (1300x974)'Warm the vinegar and sugar, add vegetables, let it sit for two hours.  Honestly, the flavor is (similar to) pickle, but not the texture.  Warming it, then cooling, improved things a bit, but it still tasted like faux-conserver dans le vinaigre to me,  tart taste painted over veg. 

DSC05746 (1300x974)The scallops turned out dead easy: trim off the (orange) roe, dredge in oil, herbs, and spices, then sear for a minute a side.  They seemed a bit underdone to me, but had a nice soft texture.

DSC05748 (1300x1074)The recipe advises to arrange the elements in a sunburst, dress with coriander and chive, and serve.  The result looked more like bomb-burst than sun-burst, but it tasted great (at 10 pm…)

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