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, April 3, 2017

Cedar Scallops

Libraries are important. VERY important. See my Just Read post for some thoughts on libraries and civil rights, courtesy of the remarkable John Lewis. See Pam's "Library" Books Blog for her reviews of scores of books that celebrate or at least mention libraries directly. Pam is a consummate librarian, having served in a bilingual environment as a reference librarian in the McAllen (Texas) Public Library and as an academic librarian at the Maxwell Library at Bridgewater State University. Currently, she is a candidate for election to a third term as a volunteer trustee of the Bridgewater Public Library as well.

So when Pam has a library-related achievement, we need to celebrate. And recently we got news of just such an achievement. Starting in 1997 as a part-time, adjunct librarian, she has been promoted through the ranks of Assistant Librarian, Associate Librarian, and Librarian. The recent news is that she will next be promoted to the highest ranks of librarianship in our system: SENIOR LIBRARIAN. This is based on years of active service in committees, public service, outreach, and scholarship regarding information literacy.

This was a big deal, which called not only for a nice, bubbly wine from Westport Rivers, but also for a special preparation of one of our favorite foods: New Bedford scallops from Kyler's Catch. Wanting to take some time with this, I turned to the Big Green Egg Cookbook, where I found a nice recipe that called for wrapping scallops in cedar papers.

Unfortunately, we could not find such papers -- neither at Kylers nor at our trusty Big Green Egg local supplier in Fairhaven, But Kylers did have cedar planks -- which careful readers will remember I used with salmon last year -- so we decided to improvise.

Timing was tricky -- grilling outside while putting together a sauce inside. I soaked the cedar plank a couple hours ahead of time. This is essential unless the cedar is to serve simply as a way of burning the scallops.

Then I started the coals, and after that the sauce. It involved sauteeing shallots, fresh thyme, organge zest and a bay leaf in some butter, then simmering with white wine, and finally adding cream and then reducing. It looks like a fascinating soup is under way, but none of this ended up on our plates. Rather this was sieved and then poured over the scallops (see below).
Meanwhile -- literally running back and forth to the grill -- I planked the scallops. This meant removing the cedar plank from its pan of water, and putting it on the grill for a couple minutes on one side before flipping it and brushing it lightly with oil. I then arranged the scallops on it and grilled for about five minutes on each side -- Big Green Egg lid closed of course -- being very careful with the turning of the scallops.
The result was worthy of such an occasion -- smoky scallops with a savory, complex sauce over fettucine with a nice local bubbly. 

And the best part about Pam's promotion: it is recognition for what she has already achieved: no new obligations attached. Now that was worth celebrating!

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