Several weeks ago, when executive chef Luis Gonzalez of Restaurant Vask held a cooking class at The Maya Kitchen, among the seafood he cooked was US scallops.
Meaty, with a delicate texture and an exquisite flavor, the scallops were supplied by Mida Food Distributors under the label Pacific Bay. Because they had been quick-frozen, the flavor and texture of the scallops were preserved.
Indeed, the scallops prepared by chef Luis that day, which he cooked with black ink risotto, were succulent, brimming with the rich, briny flavors of the sea. They provided just the right accent to a risotto that had been stirred with the dark, mysterious ink secreted by a squid.
When cooking scallops, chef Luis cautioned against overcooking them. “It’s important to respect the produce,” he said.
Keeping that in mind, I tried cooking my own recipe for scallops at home, using a pound of frozen scallops from Mida, courtesy of The Maya Kitchen. Happy to say the dish turned out delicious.
Scallops with Garlic Butter Sauce
½ k (about 1 pound) shelled scallops
Salt and pepper
¼ c butter, divided
1 small carrot, cut into rounds
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Wash the scallops well and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in an oven-proof skillet (see tips). Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the scallops. Sear one side of the scallops for about a minute. Turn the scallops over. Add the carrots to the skillet.
Put the skillet in the oven and let the scallops and carrots cook for two minutes. Meanwhile, in another skillet, melt the remaining butter then add the garlic. Sauté the garlic until golden but not burned. Remove from the heat and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture.
After removing the scallops and carrots from the oven, transfer them to a serving dish. Pour in the garlic-butter and lemon mixture. If desired, serve with rice.
For more tips, recipes and stories, visit the author’s blog www.normachikiamco.com and Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/normachikiamco. Follow on Twitter @NormaChikiamco
If the scallops are frozen, thaw them several hours in the refrigerator before using.
If using fresh scallops, remove them from their shells. Wash the scallops and pat dry, as in the procedure above. If not using the scallops immediately, store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook. Use as soon as possible so they don’t become stale.
For sautéing the scallops, be sure the skillet is oven-proof as you’ll be finishing cooking the scallops and carrots in the oven. If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, just transfer the scallops and carrots to an oven-proof dish before putting them in the oven.
Pacific Bay scallops are available through Mida Food Distributors, Inc., 2219 Singalong St., Manila, tel. 5240006.