Friday, March 6, 2015

Pan Seared Scallops with Asian Chili Mayo

Pan Seared Scallops with Asian Chili Mayo

For Catholics, this time of year is the season of Lent, a period of weeks when we reflect and rejoice on the goodness of life and the love of Christ. As to our food, every Friday is all about seafood, and my pan seared scallops are quick, easy and too delicious for words. Everyone always wants seconds!

I first served these delightful scallops at a summer cocktail party that I catered on a deck overlooking the water, and they were an instant hit. I now serve them for any given event and also at home with my family. Like my recipe for Garlic Shrimp with Vodka Cocktail Sauce, this is also a recipe that can be served on Asian hors d’oeuvre spoons. Just add a small dollop of the chili mayo onto the spoon, topped with a scallop and garnished with curly parsley.

A special note for when you are purchasing scallops: Always ask your fishmonger for scallops that are not treated with chemicals. They may not look as white and fresh as the treated scallops, but they are actually a much better quality, and they will sear wonderfully in your pan. Treated scallops will only steam, and you will never achieve that heavenly golden crust.

1 pound sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper  
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Asian chili sauce
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped 

Pat scallops well with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Warm butter and olive oil in a saute pan. Add the scallops, and sear 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. ( Do not overcrowd the scallops or they will steam! Sear them in batches if needed.)
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, chili sauce, red pepper flakes and parsley. Serve scallops with Asian chili mayonnaise.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pan Roasted Sausage and Grapes

Photo Courtesy of Richard Roselli
Sausage and grapes was an item on a recent menu that I created for a fundraising event to benefit my Frankie's foundation for childhood cancer. It was a beautiful time to a sold out crowd at the Yellow Hook Grille in Brooklyn, NY, and the air was filled with blessings and love toward our important cause. 

I was also humbled by the praise from our many guests as they enjoyed my selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts, and there were especially many requests for the sausage and grapes recipe! In that spirit, I am very pleased to share the how-to on this fantastic marriage of flavors. The spicy pork combined with the sweetness of the grapes and then tossed with a cool balsamic is an experience in itself. Enjoy!

3 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound of Italian sweet sausage links
1 medium red onion, sliced

3 cups of large sweet green grapes

1/4 cup red wine
Kosher salt and crushed black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 

Warm butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add red pepper flakes and allow to sizzle and flavor the butter. Lower heat and layer sausages in saute pan. Cover with lid. Allow to cook until nicely browned for about 30 minutes. Turn over once in between cooking. Remove sausages to a plate. Turn heat back up to medium, and add red onion and grapes to saute pan allowing to cook in the sausage drippings. Sprinkle in small amount of salt and pepper. Pour red wine to moisten grapes and red onions. Continue to cook until grapes start to pucker and release juices. On a cutting board, slice sausages on an angle and add back into saute pan. Stir all ingredients together well and slowly pour in balsamic vinegar evenly. Incorporate flavors for 2 more minutes. Serve warm.