Sea Breeze

28 Jun

I’m in love.

View From Susnet Park, Brooklyn

The boy and I had a weekend of utterly ridiculous deliciousness and yet, even in the midst of all this gluttonous glory, I have a favorite.

I got it rolling with a pretzel croissant from City Bakery. If you’ve never had one of these, hie thee to W. 18th Street or book yourself a flight to New York, stat. Imagine, the most perfect, airy, light, fluffy croissant, glazed with butter and topped with sesame seeds and sea salt. They’re so awesome they have their own website.

Flame Flower

But woman cannot live on pastry alone. There’s a bodega for every nationality in Bay Ridge. The Poles have one, as do the Ukranians. The Middle Eastern community has several and I’m sure there’s subtle differences between them that elude me. There’s one for the Koreans, many for the Greeks, plenty for the Italians and even one for the Irish.

The Mexicans have one, too, and on weekends the proprietress has taken to selling agua fresca and antojitos from a table on the sidewalk. This past weekend she just happened to be selling Puffy Tacos filled with delicious beans and cotija cheese. Yum.

No thanks. I'm more of a Coca-Cola girld myself.

Saturday dinner you know about, and if you’re a close reader, you know about Sunday lunch, too. Brooklynguy (what, you’ve never been to his blog? Go! Learn about wine!) was kind enough to alert me to the existence of a heretofore unknown barbecue joint existing within walking distance of chateau Granny Cart. We went, and, oh. my. god. That’s good ‘cue! The ribs are ridiculously good, and the pulled pork and smoked brisket ain’t shabby neither. And the portions? Huge! Prices? Totally reasonable.

We had so much leftover meat in our doggie bag that we walked (very, very necessary after a meal of that quality and quantity) to, yep, you guessed it, Eagle Provisions, to pick up a few cabbage salads to eat with the leftovers later in the week. Good stuff, good stuff.

Green-wood Cemetery Flower

The ‘cue put us both into pretty severe meat comas and kept us stuffed until well into the evening. It was very hard to think about eating again, but I had a dinner percolating at the back of my brain that simply needed to be let out. The first genesis of this dinner occurred to me one evening while I was trying to fall asleep. I get a lot of good ideas at this time (also in the shower, oddly enough), but tend to forget them. This one was so good it forced me to recall it.

Green-wood Cemetery Flower

It’s an embarrassingly simple, easy and very, very quick (under 30 minutes!) dinner to prepare, but there’s a key. All the ingredients must be absolutely fresh and utterly perfect.

The scallops should be pink, coral or milky white, not stark, blinding white. They should smell sweet, not fishy in the least.

The peas must be freshly shelled. Freshly shelled and frozen are okay (that’s what mine were) and very, very sweet.

The arugula must be fiercely snappy.

If your ingredients do not match these descriptions, dinner will still turn out good, this one’s a no brainer, but, perfection is it’s own reward and doing this one the right way will make you feel like you’ve channeled Thomas Keller.

Scallops & Peas in Brown Butter with Pistou de Menthe and Strozzapretti alla Rughetta

It’s my new favorite meal ever. I’ve craved it every day this week. The buttery, perfect sweet scallops. The jewel-like peas. The intense yet cooling, herbaceous, spiky yet creamy mint Pistou. The pleasantly bitter arugula lithely wrapped around the nutty, comforting pasta.

It was so good I actually patted myself on the back and grinned like a teenager who’s just gotten her first kiss from her high school crush. I beamed and beamed and then gave myself a standing ovation at the table.

I love this dish.

And if you try it, I hope you love it too.

Head below the jump for the recipes for Scallops & Peas in Brown Butter with Pistou de Menthe and Strozzapretti alla Rughetta.

Scallops & Peas In Brown Butter With Pistou de Menthe

prep time: 10 minutes ~ cooking time: 20 minutes

Scallops & Peas

  • 4-5 Scallops, washed, patted very dry and seasoned with Salt & Pepper
  • Butter
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Vermouth
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • Fresh shelled Peas, a handful or two for each person

Pistou de Menthe

  • 2 cloves Garlic, passed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • handful Mint, washed and picked
  • Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place a healthy knob of butter in a large sautée pan set over high heat. Once it has melted and begun to foam, carefully add the scallops and allow to sear for about 4 minutes per side.

While the scallops are cooking place the ingredients for the Pistou into a mortar and pestle and add a healthy glug of olive oil. Work into a fine slurry, adding more olive oil if necessary.

Once the scallops are done, turn the heat off and place them on a plate and set aside.

Add the garlic to the leftover butter and sautée gently for a few minutes over medium heat. Don’t panic if the garlic sticks or if the butter gets dark. That’s okay, and in fact delicious. When the garlic has softened a little add the lemon juice and about 1/2 cup of the vermouth to the pan and turn up to high scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Allow to reduce by half. If the rest of your meal isn’t done yet you can add more vermouth and reduce again.  Just before serving, add the peas, turn to coat in the liquid and allow to cook through.  Do not overcook the peas!

Add the scallops back to the pan and allow them to just heat through.

To serve: Portion out the peas and the scallops, top with Pistou and serve alongside Strozzapretti alla Rughetta. Prepare to be worshiped and adored. Enjoy!

Strozzapretti alla Rughetta

prep time: 5 minutes ~ cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Strozzapretti Farro Pasta
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Wild Arugula, washed, a few handfuls per person
  • 1/4 Lemon, juived
  • Olive Oil
  • Sal & Pepper
  • Grated Cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Return the pot used to cook the pasta to the flame. Add a glug of olive oil and the garlic. Cook a minute or two until the garlic has softened. Add the pasta, the arugula and the lemon juice. Turn to coat. Season with salt & pepper. Serve with Scallops & Peas. Top with grated cheese. Enjoy!

16 Responses to “Sea Breeze”

  1. Mary June 28, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    What, no pork? Couldn’t we just sneak some pancetta or something into the strozzapretti? Seriously, this looks very good.

  2. Yvo June 28, 2007 at 11:34 am #

    Oh my, tht looks and sounds so fantastic. Mmmmm *drool

  3. Amanda June 28, 2007 at 11:49 am #

    Hey Ann!
    This is definitely going to get made very soon. Sounds and looks excellent. Fresh peas are the best in the summer! Been to Momofuku at all? The fresh peas are almost (almost!) as important as the pork in making that ramen a classic.

    btw, I thought of you when I made a giant pernil from Essex Market last night! Yummmmm

  4. Terry B June 28, 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    This sounds so delicious, Ann! I’m a major fan of scallops. Also loved the neighborhood stroll—especially the ancient Pepsi sign.

  5. Toni June 29, 2007 at 1:27 am #

    I absolutely adore scallops! And croissants with their own website? Only coming out of New York! You make me miss the place….

  6. Lisa (Homesick Texan) June 29, 2007 at 8:04 am #

    I love scallops–they’re so sweet, tender and meaty, like little seafood filet mignons. And of course, a perfect vehicle for butter and bacon. I wonder how a scallop nestled in a City Bakery pretzel croissant would taste?

  7. Christina June 29, 2007 at 11:01 am #

    Yummy. A couple of years ago, I fell in love with scallops, and since then, I’ve been looking for new ways to hang out with them. Thank you for giving me another vehicle for scallop-love. It looks like a great one!

    And, I loved your photo expedition of the ‘hood. It’s so fun to see another person’s neighborhood through that person’s point of view.

  8. sher June 30, 2007 at 12:43 am #

    Oh, how I envy you! Your life is like a wonderful film. Sigh. All those food options. And the scallops look so delicious–much better than the awful ones I last had!

  9. ann June 30, 2007 at 9:28 am #

    Mary — If you’d seen the mound of pork we’d eaten earlier in the day, you’d understand why there was none in it! But it would be delicious in the pasta, so would a poached egg for that matter!

    Yvo — ’twas!

    Amanda — Momo is one of the things I miss most about not living in the LES, that at the ramen place on E 5th street who’s name suddenly eludes me. Oh, and the Essex Market, I miss that too…. sigh

    Terry B — I am infatuated with that sign! I stopped to look at it and was like, nah, I’m not going to take a picture of that, it’s just a good fake, then I looked again and again, and finally it hit me that, no, that’s just a really old sign. I am over the moon in love with the letters, how you can see, more or less, how the signmaker used a protractor to make all the arches and curves. It’s so elegant, and gorgeous and perfect. It make my heart happy.

    Toni — They truly are magical, the croissants, but yeah, even I find the website to be overkill!

    Lisa(HT) — heh, mini seafood fliet mignons, that’s funny! I think the scallop/pretzel combo would be kinda gross… but pretzel croissant + ice cream? now that would be amazing!

    Christina — Thanks! It’s almost as much fun taking the photos as it is eating the meals, and it makes it all the better knowing someone else is going to get to see them :-)

    Sher — If my life were a film, I wouldn’t go see it ;-) Nah, but seriously, you just get to see the good parts. Trust me, you’d never want to put up with my job!

  10. izzy's mama July 2, 2007 at 7:37 am #

    I have been a fan of those pretzel croissants for ages..Izzy and I are obsessed with City Bakery. They are a perfect foil for the hot chocolate there. Problem is, they do major diet damage! I have to keep away.

  11. Brooklynguy July 2, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    Thanks for the shout-out Ann!

  12. ann July 3, 2007 at 6:30 am #

    Izzy’s Mama — Oh my! I never thought of that combo! Wow, I bet that is amazing! I never think of ordering hot chocolate, it’s just so not my, thing. Now I’ll have to, but I think I’ll wait ’til it’s cold out again. Thanks!

    Brooklynguy — No problem!

  13. izzy's mama July 3, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    They serve cold chocolate there too! And a small tip..order a “shot”..it is all you need..or a wimpy, half chocolate/half milk because it is simply too thick and rich.

  14. Tiny Banquet Committee July 5, 2007 at 3:30 pm #

    This sounds just perfect. I had a giant bag of peas recently and I made them into soup. Now I wish I had another bag of peas!

  15. ann July 6, 2007 at 6:36 am #

    Izzy’s Mama — I’m expecting today to be utterly hellish at work today, so maybe I’ll give this to myself as a treat!

    TBC — It’s SO good. I really think you’d adore it. Maybe have some with those luscious Maine scallops I’m sure you’ll be able to get while on holiday!

  16. skat July 7, 2007 at 8:39 am #

    Now those are some seriously good eats. The scallops, especially!

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