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Grilled Sea Scallops with
Grapefruit Juice
By Charlie Burke

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My friend, Chef Giovanni Leopardi, who, along with his wife, Melba, runs
Carpaccio in Hanover, New Hampshire, blends world class Mediterranean
cooking with local ingredients. Last year we supplied him with our organic
greens, and this year he is using New Hampshire and Vermont cheese, meats and
produce throughout his menu.

Last week, we introduced him to the Spragues who run
Edgewater Farm
in nearby Plainfield. This farm was started by the Colby family in 1835 and was
run by generations of their family until 1974 when Pooh and Ann Sprague took
over operation. Now, with their children, they grow annuals and perennials, run a
CSA and farm stand, and supply the two Cooperatives in Hanover. With the next
generation now involved, it is not unreasonable to expect that the friendly and
hard working Sprague family will be running this beautiful farm through 2035,
when it will celebrate two-hundred years of continuous operation by the Colbys
and Spragues. It is a perfect example of the farms the
New Hampshire Farm to
Restaurant Connection celebrate in our efforts to promote great New Hampshire
products to restaurants and consumers.

As we drove back to Hanover, Giovanni told us about some giant divers’ sea
scallops he had served as a special. He said they averaged one-quarter pound
each and were spectacularly sweet when grilled over high heat and minimally
sauced. He has an impeccable touch with sea food, so, when he surprised us with
two filet mignon – sized scallops upon our return to the restaurant, I already knew
how I was going to prepare them.

We have been eating complex carbohydrates (beans, grains, wild rice, etc) instead
of potatoes and bread, and I decided to serve the scallops with local dried beans
prepared Tuscan style, along with artichoke bottoms poached in water, lemon
juice, olive oil and chopped pancetta. The slightly salty taste of the pancetta
echoes the bacon so frequently served with scallops, and the earthy, garlicky
flavor of the beans contrasts with the smoky sweetness of the scallops. Pink
grapefruit we had had for breakfast was quite sweet with mild acidity and would,
along with the very first of our mint, make a light sauce for the scallops.

Although I doubt I’ll ever again have scallops this size, very fresh dry pack local
sea scallops should be perfect for this preparation and will, in fact, be easier to
time while grilling.

Two servings:

4 – 6 ounces very fresh dry packed sea scallops (they are slightly sticky and are in
no liquid – if you see scallops in milky liquid, they have had liquid and a
chemical preservative added)

Extra virgin olive oil

½ cup fresh grapefruit juice, plus several grapefruit segments

2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped, optional

Kosher or seas salt and freshly ground black pepper


Halve grapefruit and, using a paring knife, slice between a segment and its
membrane on all sides, freeing the pulp. If can be removed whole or in fragments.
Repeat for 6-8 segments. Set segments aside.

Juice remainder of grapefruit, yielding at least ½ cup.

Place juice into a bowl just large enough to hold scallops, add 1 ½ tablespoon
extra virgin olive oil, mix and add scallops. Marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat grill or ridged grill pan over highest heat.

Remove scallops from marinade, drizzle lightly with olive oil and rub oil over
scallops and sprinkle with salt and ground pepper.

Pour marinade into a small shallow sauté pan and reduce over medium-high heat
until slightly thickened; add reserved grapefruit segments, set aside and keep
warm

Place scallops on grill or grill pan and grill until well marked on first side. Turn
and grill second side until scallops just firm up (springy resistance begins to
replace the soft touch of the uncooked scallop). Cooking time is less on the second
side and will vary with the size and temperature of the scallops and with the
intensity of the heat.  Scallops are done when they are not yet opaque in the
middle; do not overcook – cooking continues from residual heat.

Plate on warm serving plates, pour sauce over and around scallops and sprinkle
with chopped mint. We chose Tuscan beans and artichoke hearts as sides, but in
another week we would have had our new asparagus and perhaps sauced the
scallops with one made from our early rhubarb.

Grilled local sea scallops are versatile, lending themselves to many preparations.
Become familiar with the “feel” of properly cooked scallops so that timing
becomes easy. They are fine with just a drizzle of best quality extra virgin olive oil
and lemon, and any sauce should be light and compatible with the sweetness of
this local treasure.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer'sMarket Association, president of the NH Farm to
Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along with
his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill
Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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