Thursday, May 12, 2011

Seared scallops and sorrel

I love spring cooking. My garden is sending up fresh shoots, the things I forgot about from last winter are surprising and delighting me. One of those is sorrel. I had no idea, when I planted it last year, that it would come back this year with such a vengeance. I've been at something of a loss as to what to do with it - I feel like a fool saying I have too much sorrel, when it's one of those things that is fleeting and delicate, but there you have it, more sorrel than I really can eat.

Then I remembered. Sorrel has a tart, fresh taste. Fish is complemented by tart things. Scallops, with their sweetness, benefit from tart accompaniments. And a dish was born.

My ingredients were:
  • butter (not shown)
  • about a pound of fresh, creamy sea scallops. If you've not cooked scallops before, or are worried about it, this video has good tips on selecting and preparing them
  • garlic
  • scallions, fresh from the garden - another spring surprise
  • 6 or 7 big sorrel leaves
  • pepper to taste (not shown)
I peeled and chopped the scallions, including a fair bit of green, smashed and minced maybe 4 cloves of garlic (I like garlic), cut the spine out of the sorrel and roughly chopped it. I also removed the tough little muscle from the edge of each scallop - when you look at the scallop you'll see a bit that looks a little different from the rest of the muscle. Pull it off and discard as it can be tough.

I then melted about a tablespoon of butter in the pan, let it brown a bit then lightly sautéed the garlic and added the scallops and scallions. I sprinkled it all with pepper and tried to sear the scallops on each side. When they were about half way cooked I flipped them (carefully!) and added the sorrel.

The sorrel cooked down very quickly, much the way spinach will. As soon as it was cooked down I plated and enjoyed.

The dish was wonderful though I'm afraid this photo doesn't do it justice. The sweetness of the scallops contrasted beautifully with the muted tang of the sorrel. The garlic and scallions added depth and balance. I'm so pleased by this dish.

Plant sorrel in your garden or in a window box. It grows very easily and offers wonderful possibilities for all kinds of taste adventures.

(c) 2011 Laura S. Packer

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