AVOCADO AND ORANGE SALAD WITH CHARRED JALAPENO DRESSING

No hesitation to jump on the preparation of this salad: from the moment I saw the post at Fer’s site to enjoying it as our dinner only 20 hours  elapsed.  Keep in mind that most recipes sit on my “to make soon” folder for months, not hours.  Some have been waiting there for a decade! The protein quotient of this salad was increased by the addition of seared scallops on top, with a delicate drizzle of this amazing dressing.  One word: awesome.

Scallops, Orange and Avocado Salad
AVOCADO AND ORANGE SALAD WITH CHARRED JALAPENO DRESSING
(adapted from Chucrute com Salsicha, original recipe from Bon Appetit)

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 jalapeño
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 avocados, sliced
2 oranges, cut in segments
mixed greens
6 large sea scallops (optional)

Simmer orange juice in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 2 Tbsp.  It should take a little over 5 minutes. Let cool.

Roast jalapeño directly over a gas flame, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides.  Let cool; remove stem, skin, and seeds, then finely chop.

Whisk shallot, vinegar, reduced orange juice, and the jalapeño in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in vegetable oil, then olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

Toss avocados, orange segments, salad greens,  and vinaigrette in a bowl.  Serve with seared scallops on top, if so desired.

ENJOY! (I know you will….)

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments:  You might be tempted to use store-bought orange juice for the dressing, but fresh is best, since it will be concentrated by cooking.  Also, I wimped out and used only half the jalapeño, but it would be even better with the whole pepper.  Go for it and you won’t be disappointed. What a great twist the charring of the jalapeno!  I do that all the time with bell peppers, but had never seen a recipe applying the same treatment to a much smaller (and hotter) pepper.

For the scallops, I used a sprinkle of Mycryo to help get that nice sear, but use whatever method you like.  Just do not over-cook them.   The salad will stand on its own without the scallops, it is very flavorful. Great combination of ingredients, plus a dressing that will be made often in the Bewitching Kitchen.  I can see it would be wonderful spooned over a thick piece of grilled salmon…

ONE YEAR AGO: Green Olive, Walnuts and Pomegranate Salad

TWO YEARS AGO: Romanian Flatbreads

THREE YEARS AGO: Ziti with Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: Blasted Broccoli, Stove-top version

SEA SCALLOPS WITH PEA PUREE & CILANTRO GREMOLATA

Preparing this dinner was not easy.  It was probably not very wise to make it during the kitchen hellnovation, but I was craving a nicer meal to make our Sunday evening feel special.  It can be very stressful to be in a house undergoing renovation, so having a slightly fancier meal seemed like a good idea.  However, what used to be a kitchen is now an almost empty space with no finished floors or appliances.  We are lucky to be able to keep the fridge turned on in our garage, and to have improvised two cooking areas: one in the laundry room, another in our enclosed patio.  Still, pantry items are in boxes, a few dishes are piled in the dining room for our daily use, a few pans at close reach, but not that many.  I wish you could see a video of me preparing this meal.  Actually, I am very glad there is no video documenting the process.  It involved me dashing a few times across rooms, forgetting that some passages are blocked by heavy plastic.  It involved a mildly twisted ankle while balancing scallops on a baking dish and “almost” losing them all to a floor covered in rough concrete bits. It also involved a scorched pan,  but the pea puree, even after subjected to torture tasted absolutely awesome!  So, allow me to share with you one of the toughest meals I prepared in the past year, a recipe that I first saw on a favorite food blog of mine, Taste Food.  Yes, I cooked from Lynda’s blog before…  😉

served1

SEA SCALLOPS WITH GINGERED PEA PUREE AND CILANTRO GREMOLATA
(adapted from Taste Food)

for the scallops:
12 sea scallops
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle of Mycryo

for the pea puree:
2 cups shelled English peas
salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne

for the gremolata:
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make the gremolata by combining the cilantro, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the peas. Cook until peas are tender. Remove from heat and drain peas, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Combine peas, ginger, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne in bowl of food processor. Purée until smooth. Add some of the reserved water (approximately 1/4 cup) to thin to desired consistency; the purée should not be too thin. Discard remaining water. Transfer purée to a bowl and keep warm. Pat scallops dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Add a sprinkle of Mycryo right before cooking. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the scallops, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Cook, turning once, until brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining scallops.  No need to add any oil to the pan, just the sprinkle of Mycryo will be enough.

To assemble, spoon pea purée on serving plates. Top with scallops. Sprinkle scallops and purée with gremolata.  Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

peapuree

Comments:  Mycryo is a great product with a poorly chosen name, if you ask me.  The word –  Mycryo – makes me think of tears, sadness, despair.  But that could not be farther from the truth:  they gave sea scallops THE most perfect brown ever, even though they were prepared in THE most rudimentary cooking conditions available to a cook (the Drama Queen says hello). I even conducted a small experiment by preparing two batches of sea scallops.  One cost a small fortune, they were the ultra-special, huge dry sea scallops.  The other was a frozen type that while thawing released a gallon of white milky liquid.  No bueno.   With a light sprinkle of Mycryo (and no oil added to the non-stick pan), all scallops browned like a Brazilian under the tropical sun!   We could not tell the difference in texture or taste between the two types, which was quite amazing to me.   Great product! You can order here, they shipped very quickly, contrary to what I heard from customers who got it through amazon.com.

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The pea puree competed heavily with the scallops to win the spotlight of this meal.   Bright flavor with the ginger and just a slight heat from the cayenne.  Lynda really came up with a perfectly balanced side dish.

I close this post with a little snapshot of our laundry room.  In one side we installed the induction cooktop + microwave. On the other side, where we do have a large sink, we stuffed together the coffee machine, coffee grinder, and our beloved Penguin Sodastream.  It’s cozy in there, folks. Cozy.

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ONE YEAR AGO: Mediterranean Skewers with Balsamic Dressing

TWO YEARS AGO: Five Grain Sourdough Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: The Nano-Kitchen

FOUR YEARS AGO: Kaiser Rolls