In my blog interview series, Who’s In the Kitchen?, I always ask, “What inspires you?”
It’s not an easy question to answer.
Is it a long shadow on a late summer afternoon? An exotic food? A vacation? Or simply the utility of what’s in the fridge?
As I shopped at the fish market the other day I thought about these things.
I wanted to buy scallops, one of my favorite seafood items, then I remember that it’s not one of Elvis’ favorite foods. So I compromised and only bought one.
Yep, I bought one scallop.
But it was a big scallop. A U-10 be exact. U-10 means there are under ten scallops per pound.
So my one scallop weighed in at a whopping .18 of a pound. Just enough for an appetizer. Or more like an amuse-bouche for two.
And at $24.99 per pound, well. There’s that. Now. You can buy smaller and less expensive scallops on the market for sure. But I wanted that damn huge scallop!
Anyway, back in my kitchen as I unpacked the groceries I thought about my lone scallop.
Also as a side, I was rushing to finish reading the weekly NY Times. It was Saturday. In the Food section, an article caught my eye about a relatively new restaurant in TriBeCa called Tiny’s. The article mentioned that Chef John Martinez, an eight-year veteran who worked with famed French Chef Jean-George Vongerichten, would be the driving culinary force behind the above-mentioned restaurant. Chef John is bringing “New American Food” to Tiny’s.
Enter Scallop and Toasted Walnut Crostini.
Hello! I had the base ingredients—my one scallop, walnuts, and ciabatta bread, oil to soften the dish and perhaps a fresh herb to brighten the plate and my palate.
Going with the use what I have in the pantry principle, I chose white truffle oil and fresh mint.
Tiny’s doesn’t have this appetizer on the menu anymore. And I don’t know if Chef John still works there. But this recipe is a classic, quick appetizer that will satisfy any scallop-lover. Trust.
The list of ingredients is miminal—scallops, walnuts, crusty bread, oil, kosher salt and some fresh herbs.
Apparently, my inspiration comes from many sources—a chef’s recipe, what’s in my pantry, and a maybe a daydream about traveling to TriBeCa to eat at Tiny’s.
Ready to cook Scallop Appetizer Inspiration?
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice ciabatta bread into thin slices, drizzle with EVOO, season with salt & pepper and toast in the pre-heated oven 5-6 minutes. You’ll want slightly browned bread, but not overly crisp.
- Gently tear apart a few leaves of mint for flavor and reserve a sprig for garnish.
- Spread a generous handful of walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six minutes. If you smell them prior, remove them from the oven. Set aside to cool, then chop coarsely.
- While the walnuts are toasting, heat a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, rinse the scallop in cold water, gently pull off the foot, discard, and pat dry the scallop. Slice
- Slice the scallop into equal portions. Sprinkle with sea salt on both sides. Add a few drops of EVOO to the hot pan. Working quickly and with a delicate hand, sear the scallops for fifteen-twenty seconds (maximum cooking time) on each side. Remove from heat immediately and place on cutting board. Cut the scallops into small bite size pieces.
- Add a few drops of canola oil to the hot skillet. Working quickly and with a delicate hand, sear the scallops for fifteen-twenty seconds (maximum cooking time) on each side. Remove the scallops from the heat to a clean cutting board. Cut the scallops into small bite-size pieces.
- Arrange the bread on a serving plate, add the chopped scallops, walnuts and chopped mint. Drizzle the top of the crostini with White Truffle oil. Eat immediately.
What inspires you? I’d love to know.
Hit me up in the comments or online @maureencberry #eatmorescallops