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...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Red Chili Scallops

We promise this will not become a blog devoted exclusively to the Big Green Egg. As we mentioned in yesterday's salmon post, buying the Egg was much like joining a cult. But we promise we're still just ordinary foodies, and we will return to "normal" cooking soon. But our anniversary weekend did give us a chance to explore the Egg's capabilities as we gradually get comfortable with it.

Regular readers of the blog will know that the scallops of New Bedford are a source of regional pride and regular enjoyment. They are both delicious and sustainably harvested, and we get them as fresh as they can be from Kyler's Catch, right across the harbor from our home in Fairhaven.

The recipe we chose this time was Red Chili Scallops, again from the Egg cookbook and web site. We were intrigued by the idea of a "rub" for something as small as a scallop, but it worked out well. Pam came as close as possible to the mix of spices described -- basically all of the hot, red ones -- and put them through a coffee mill that we have now decided is for spices. (You can repurpose a coffee mill for spices, but going the other way would require a ridiculous amount of cleaning.)

After Pam prepared the rub, we prepared the salsa together. Meaning Pam prepared everything except for the mango. The only substitution was white onion for the red. My contribution of the mango dicing was significant, though, because we did not have our mango splitter on hand, and I was reduced to the kind of hacking that I did in our pre-splitter days. I honestly wonder how humans ever got involved with mangos in the first place, given how difficult they are to work with!
Dinner was a success, even without one of these!
Once the salsa and rub were ready, I started the grill, and it was at the 400F cooking temperature in about ten minutes. While it was heating, I rinsed the scallops and essentially rolled them in the rub. Although the Egg writers get scallops from some place where they are large and only 12 to the pound, we had about 20 pieces in the pound we purchased, so rolling was the simplest option.

I was a little nervous about the timing suggested in the recipe. How could I cook these for two minutes on each side, when it would take me at least a minute of open-grill time to turn them? Also, just opening the Egg to put the scallops on the cast-iron grill, I noticed that the temperature drops. So I decided arbitrarily to try three minutes per side. I noticed that a few of the scallops near the edges of the grill were sticking a bit, suggesting that they had not gotten fully seared even in the three minutes. I watched the temperature dip after turning the scallops, so the three minutes seemed right. Again, there was a slight bit of sticking, but the scallops were cooked through quite nicely, and seared nicely for the most part.
The result was quite piquant -- even for us Southwestern types -- but the heat of the scallops balanced nicely with the cool salsa. It all went well with the creamy Alfredo that Pam had prepared while I was grilling, and the Pinot Grigio complimented the entire meal. This was an ideal anniversary meal, as we each contributed equally to its success and in sharing its enjoyment!

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