How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Vincent Price Scallops

As I recently wrote on my Environmental Geography blog, my early birthday gift to Pam is a fiftieth-anniversary edition of Mary & Vincent Price's A Treasury of Great Recipes. It is a lush volume based on travel to many of the great restaurants of the world a half-century ago. My particular focus was on a perfectly horrific coffee recipe, but we are confident that most of what fills these pages will be as delightful as our first use of the book -- a simple recipe involving scallops!

The recipe for "Cape Cod Scallops Sauté Meunière" is one of several from the venerable Locke-Ober restaurant in Boston. The menu and woodcut illustration of the restaurant exemplify the kinds of places that fill this volume, and evoke the atmosphere of a restaurant established when Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States.

Because Boston is a place that loves its history, I assumed we might be able to make a bit of a pilgrimage, but alas, it closed without fanfare in 2012.
The comments sections in the article about the closing and in an article about the opening of Yvonne's in the same location reveal a lot about the changing geography of its immediate neighborhood and of generational differences in the reputation of the original restaurant. Most amusing is the retort aimed at someone who dared call Locke-Ober's clientele stuffy: "Go eat at Taco Bell!" So opinions varied; we certainly will be avoiding the New England Boiled Dinner recipe on the page facing this scallop dish, putting us on the younger side of the divide.
Photo by my dad shows my rowing buddies and I getting out of the way of an earlier scallop delivery.
We found this dish to be as delicious as it is simple. Starting with fresh New Bedford scallops from Kyler's Catch, I dredged them in flour (shaking off excess, as advised), and placed them in hot oil. The recipe calls for a cast-iron pan, which I should have used. I was not sure the one available was big enough, though, so I used the enamel skillet to pretty good effect.

Once the scallops were browned on both sides, I removed them from the pan, poured off excess oil (I will simply use a lot less oil next time), and added butter, parsley, and fresh lemon juice. I whisked these together as the butter melted, and poured it over the scallops.
The recipe calls for 1/4-inch depth of cooking oil. I used less than that, and will use even less next time.
The result: delish!

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