A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Scallops, polenta, creamed corn, asparagus, prosciutto

Sea scallops, ½ lb Polenta in a tube, sliced
Corn on the cob, 2 ears
Shallots, 1 lg, sliced
Heavy cream
Olive oil (not extra virgin)
Black pepper
White pepper

1.  Dry the scallops. If they’re damp, they won’t brown. Do not purchase bay or calico scallops, and do not purchase what’s called “wet” scallops which are soaked in phosphates to add weight (for which you pay) and as a preservative. This practice also makes them impossible to brown. In other words, they’re no damned good. Ask whoever’s behind the fish and meat counter, although you may get a “Huh?” kind of response.
2.  Slice polenta into ½” thick slices (or thicker; it isn’t critical)
3.  Remove corn from cobs. Heat 2 Tbs butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Put in corn and sliced shallots. Cook gently for several minutes without browning them. Place in a blender or food processor with a half cup of the heavy cream (for a lighter dish, milk or skim milk can be substituted), and blend until well combined. Return to the saucepan and add salt and white pepper. Reserve and keep warm.
4.  Break off the hard ends of the asparagus and discard (or use for soup). No need to peel the stalks. Leave whole or cut into pieces. Parboil the asparagus until barely tender. Reserve.
5.  Slice the prosciutto. In what shapes, you ask. It doesn’t matter. How about 2 ½ inches long and ¼ inch wide?
6.  Heat one or two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, then add the prosciutto and some ground black pepper and sauté until crisp. Remove from the pan, attempting to retain some of the oil, and reserve. Now add the asparagus and sauté until it begins to brown. Reserve but keep warm.
7.  Put a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a pan, heat it over medium high, and brown the polenta slices on both sides.. Grind some black pepper over them. Reserve and keep warm.
8.  Sprinkle some salt and white pepper on the scallops. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a pan over high heat, taking care not to burn the butter. As soon as the butter starts to bubble, add the scallops and cook on both sides quickly. This should be the last thing you do, since overcooking scallops is a very, very bad thing to do. Not as bad as homicide or financial institution greed or oil spills, but still bad. It should also be the last thing you do because the other elements of the dish can wait a bit. Scallops can’t.
9.  About the time you put the scallops in the pan, place two or three polenta slices on a plate and put some corn puree over them. Place the asparagus spears (or pieces) alongside. Place the scallops atop the polenta slices, and sprinkle the prosciutto over everything.


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