Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Top Chef at Home

The man of the house and I are going to the Bahamas over New Year's and we could both stand to pay more attention to getting ourselves in fighting form. This means that this morning at the greenmarket, I spent less time fantasizing about buttery tarts, pies, and pastries I could make with fall fruit, and more time realistically planning healthy meals that wouldn't taste, well, like salad.

The cool organic salad people tricked me out with a mixed assortment of everything they had and then directed me to the purslane (hmm, where have I heard about purslane recently?); I paused very briefly to give their baby cherry tomatoes on the vine a grab, followed soon after by the sungolds I get from Walter every week.

After grabbing some apples and raspberries, I had a hankering for fish. Even though Wednesday is not a great day for me to be buying fish as immediately after work I have my french lesson (allowing said fish to become a little more room temperature than strictly desired), I decided to risk it because we haven't had scallops in a while.

But wait, surely purslane and scallops remind me of something. Oooh, that's right, it was a dish made on the finale of Top Chef. I think they used grapes - lucky for me then, I bought about 200 pounds on a rare Saturday trip to the market this past weekend! I think I remember something about fennel and, voila, here is some beautiful baby fennel staring right up at me - god, I love this market. I think there would have to have been an herb included somewhere, but I can't be expected to remember what it was. How about lemon thyme? Lemon thyme seems like it would work well with scallops fennel, purslane and grapes. Let's grab it.

Upon arriving at work I hope that I can find the recipe online and lovely Bravo obliges. Shoot, it was tarragon not lemon thyme, and I do not have a lemon at home for fresh lemon juice, improvisation will have to commence.

Fast forward 12 hours and I realize that I only have yuzu rice vinegar, but the yuzu in the vinegar will obviate the need for the fresh lemon juice. So I start cleaning and picking and stirring and sizzling and suddenly:

dinner is served.

And dinner tastes good. Really good. Even at 10:30 at night.

Seared Scallop with Purslane (adapted from Top Chef season finale and Dale)

1/2 cup green grapes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon thyme
3 tbsp yuzu rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
9 fresh scallops scallops
5 bulbs mini fennel, shaved thin
1/2 cup purslane, cleaned and picked

some corn I found in my freezer

Marinate grapes in olive oil, lemon thyme, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Sear scallops until hard and brown crusted (really this took quite a while, about 8 or 9 minutes, but the scallops were quite big and I have a horro of undercooking them). Toss fennel and purslane with grapes. Place scallops on salad and garnish with sweet corn.

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