|THESE SCALLOPS ARE A QUICK, HEALTHY, & DELICIOUS MEAL|
Because it has been several months since I have used scallops in a meal, I was excited to try Dorie's recipe. We love seafood and eat fish regularly and look forward to putting scallops back into our regular fare. Also, any recipe that incorporates my backyard citrus makes me extra happy. I look for these kinds of recipes and love to share them with my neighbors who also grow lots of citrus.
|THESE ORANGES WERE PICKED LESS THAN 5 MINUTES AGO...SUPER FRESH|
We enjoyed a sprinkling of rain throughout this cool day making the fruit extra fresh and juicy. I decided to use Arizona Sweets, which are not available in most areas. They are a small but much sweeter juicing orange compared to other juice oranges; they provide our preferred juice.
|ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND MATURE FRUIT|
|FRAGRANT VALENCIA ORANGE BLOSSOMS|
|FIRST ROSES FOLLOWING OUR HARD FROST|
|MY FOURTH OF JULY ROSE|
|FLOWERS IN MY SPRING YARD|
And this is the time of year that is the very, very best for several reasons in the Phoenix valley. Air temperatures are usually between 75^ and 85^ , the days are mostly sunny, there is a spring rain every couple of weeks keeping everything green and fresh, the flowers bloom everywhere, the winter lawns are deep green, the trees have their new leaves, and best of all the air everywhere, especially in my backyard, is sweetly scented with all the orange and other citrus blossoms. It is incredible and indescribable. We have 20 citrus trees all in bloom, and our neighborhood has many, many more, and the whole valley finds them in abundance. We ride in the car with our windows down so that we can take in this sweet air. With today's rain, tomorrow's air will be clean and refreshed and the orange blossom perfume will fill the breezes with extra intensity. Going out to pick my fruit brings me extra pleasure even in the gentle rain. And citrus trees are funny. We have enjoyed oranges since last November and the fruit just gets better and better as the months advance. Unlike other trees that ripen their fruits and all the harvesting is completed within a couple of weeks for that particular type of fruit, citrus fruit ripens as soon as the nights get cool and hold their ripened fruit until the summer. We enjoy grapefruit well into July. And this fruit remains on the tree while new blooms appear and baby fruits begin to grow. For example, unlike apple trees, we often have fruit in various stages of growth on our trees at the same time.
|BONNE-IDEE--ZEST FOR 'CANDIED ORANGE ZEST"|
With a few adjustments, I decided to try the "Bonnie-Idee" making candied zest as a topping for my scallops. I did not pre-boil the zest as this Arizona Sweet zest is, as the fruit's name suggests, sweet, not bitter, and cooks well. That gave me the full flavor of this zest. When I zested these oranges the entire house, including all the upstairs, smelled of sweet oranges. The orange oils squirt out of these peels with every swipe of the zester and fill the house with their potent aroma. Instead of just removing the zest from the sugar mixture, as suggested in the idee, I spooned some of the thickened candy syrup with the zest over the scallops for extra flavor and beauty. Everyone commented that this was their favored topping.
|MELTED SUGAR FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE|
|I DECIDED TO LET THE AMBER SUGAR DARKEN FOR A RICHER FLAVOR|
To make the caramel, I melted sugar over medium-high heat until it liquified and became a beautiful amber color. Knowing that this sugar would be diluted with orange juice and apple juice (which hides flavor and was used in place of the white wine), I decided to let the sugar quickly caramelize to a darker amber for a more intense flavor that would not be concealed by the addition of the juices. After adding the juices the mixture simmered until reduced by at least half. It is a sweet caramel-orange sauce to top the sauteed scallops.
|SCALLOPS SAUTEING IN A LITTLE OLIVE OIL|
The scallops browned quickly on both sides. Because we like our seafood just a little more well done than the recipe suggests, I doubled the cooking time (and doubled the recipe for the 4 of us who would enjoy this meal) and cooked over a medium-high instead of high heat. (I was careful not to cook too long as the scallops will get tough with overcooking.)
|DORIE'S PHOTO INCLUDED ASPARAGUS SO I MADE MY MEAL TO MATCH|
I was thinking about a good vegetable to accompany this scallop meal and Dorie's photo was very inviting...so I also used asparagus, as she did, with our scallops. This was a good choice, adding a pretty color to the plate and we all loved this meal.
This recipe is quick, tasty, and puts scallops back into our future meal plans. Thanks, Dorie, for another great recipe.
Note: The Gilbert, AZ Heritage District has a new Farmers' Market about 2 blocks from our office building. Hubby and I visited the market last Saturday morning and I enjoyed talking to a vendor about their varieties of natural/organic/kosher salts. After using the grey French salt in last week's recipe, and after trying other fun and flavorful salts in my recent cooking and baking it was fun to try at least a dozen interesting salts at his "salt bar." These salts are becoming popular as many cooks are upgrading their tastes and skills, and since I had actually used several varieties, my conversation with the vendor was intelligent. (Thank you Dorie for pushing me to try new things.) And I did mention our Dorie Salted Butter Break-up project with the French Grey Salt (Sel Gris). I came home with a couple of new-to-me salts to try: Hawaiian Black which is crisp, clean, and crunchy...and a brilliant sparkling, black color...would be great on salads, and also an applewood salt which I am excited to use for grilling....handcrafted with a smoky-sweet flavor. I thought their salts were a bit expensive...averaged $2.50 per oz., but if anyone is having a hard time finding good salts for their cooking/baking, the vendor I visited can be found at golbsalt,com.