EVERY SUMMER WHEN I WAS YOUNG, my family would drive from Montreal to Cape Cod for a weeklong vacation. Those trips were my introduction to fresh seafood, and I fell in love, instantly. My mother encouraged us to try everything we could lay our hands on, because back then none of it was available to us at home. She also stressed the importance of not overworking something that was already perfect, an idea that has a lot to do with how I approach cooking today. The best ingredients should never be over-manipulated. These fresh Atlantic scallops are a beautiful reminder that simple is often best. — A.B.-L.
- 125 ml (1⁄2 cup) olive oil
- 3 stalks lemongrass, minced
- 50 ml (1⁄4 cup) black sesame seeds
- 8 large (U-10) dry-packed Atlantic sea scallops, adductor removed
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 large pinch salt
- 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- 125 ml (1⁄2 cup) brunoise of radish (or hakurei turnip)
- 1⁄4 bunch cilantro, leaves only, picked and washed
- Maldon or other mild, flaky sea salt
Combine lemongrass and olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Sauté until lemongrass is golden, then set aside to cool. Strain and reserve oil (discard solids). Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet on low heat until fragrant, then set aside to cool. Blitz in a coffee grinder (or pulverize with a mortar and pestle) and set aside. Cut scallops horizontally into 2 or 3 slices. Combine in a bowl with the lime juice and salt, then toss well. Divide scallop disks between 4 chilled shallow bowls. Divide marinade between the four servings. Drizzle lemongrass oil over the scallops and follow with serrano pepper, radish (or turnip) and cilantro. Garnish with sesame seed powder and flaky sea salt.
A crisp and lively white, such as the Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Valley Viognier from California or Alois Lageder ‘Dolomiti’ Pinot Grigio from Italy.
For these and other fine wines, go to Mark Anthony Wines & Spirits.