Scallop Salad with Lime and Grilled Mango

I spent many years living in South Florida, where aside from meeting healthy green iguanas on my patio, I truly tasted mangoes for the first time. Coming from non-tropical New England where I grew up I’d thought I knew how a fresh mango was to eat – mushy, stringy and overwhelmingly musky-tasting – not very sexy. It wasn’t until a co-worker of mine in Miami brought me some drippingly sweet, ripe mangoes from the huge tree that grew over her backyard that my thoughts about mangoes were completely turned around.

I don’t live anywhere near a mango tree these days, but at least better-tasting mango varieties that can stand up to travel are making their way into our markets. I love the Ataulfo or Champagne mangoes that are in season right now. They are virtually fiber-free and have the perfect ratio of sweet to tangy.

I enjoy making a meal out of salad, but dinner for me cannot be just a bowl of plain greens. I seared some super-fresh sea scallops briefly on the grill along with some mango, and drizzled it all with a sweet-tart lime dressing – this is a great summer dinner.

Scallop Salad with Lime and Grilled Mango

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

  1. ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  2. 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  3. Pinch cayenne pepper
  4. Salt
  5. 16 large dry-packed sea scallops
  6. Freshly ground black pepper
  7. 3 small, ripe mangoes (such as Ataulfo)
  8. 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  9. 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  10. ½ head radicchio, thinly sliced
  11. 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
  12. 4 scallions, root ends trimmed and chopped

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the lime juice, agave, cayenne and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pat the scallops dry with a towel; sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Stand each mango stem side up on a cutting board with the wider sides facing away from you; slice off the two “cheeks” on either side of the stem, cutting close to the pit – you should have 6 pieces (save the remaining mango flesh for another use); peel each piece and slice in half lengthwise.
  3. Heat a heavy skillet, preferably with ridges, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter or oil to the pan. Arrange the mango slices in the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side, just until browned. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon butter or oil to the pan; add the scallops and sear until they’re nicely browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Pour in the lime juice mixture and turn off the heat, swirling to blend the juices.
  5. Arrange some spinach, radicchio and avocado on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 4 scallops and 4 mango slices; drizzle with the pan juices and sprinkle with the scallions.

Notes

Shrimp would be a perfect substitute for scallops.

http://familystylefood.com/2012/06/scallop-salad-with-lime-and-grilled-mango/

Provencal Fish in Parchment

Ever since people discovered fire and started cooking, foods that weren’t great candidates for roasting over an open flame – like sides of meat- were probably protected by some kind of wrapper: banana leaves, plant husks, pieces of animal fat or whatever happened to be handy and available.

The method of enclosing food in a parchment paper package, en papillote, is ingenious when you think about it.  Every ingredient in the package steams and bastes in its own juices, enhancing taste and preserving nutrients. It’s pure, simple and maybe best of all there’s no pan to clean! Well, not counting the baking sheet…

This recipe layers essential Provençal flavors of tomatoes, fennel and garlic. I like to use delicate, quicker-cooking fish like sole, snapper or sea bass. Combined with vegetables the whole package cook in just 10 minutes, and the resulting light, buttery sauce is deliciously like bouillabaisse. Serve the fish packages with some crusty bread alongside to enjoy every drop of the sauce.

Provencal Fish in Parchment

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  2. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  3. ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  4. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  5. Salt
  6. 1 fresh fennel bulb, stems trimmed and fronds reserved
  7. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  8. 1 small white onion, very thinly sliced
  9. 1 pound sole fillets
  10. 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
  11. 4 tablespoons butter
  12. 4 teaspoons anise-flavored liqueur such as Pernod or Ricard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with the garlic, fennel seed, 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
  3. Remove the tough outer layer from the fennel bulb. Thinly shave the fennel with a mandoline or a sharp knife and combine in another bowl with the remaining teaspoon oil, pinch of salt, lemon juice and the onion.
  4. Fold 4 pieces of parchment paper (12 x 17 inches) in half, then open them flat on a work surface. Place some of the tomatoes (about ¼ cup) on the sheet to one side of the fold. Place a portion of sole over the tomatoes; season the sole with salt and top with the fennel mixture, some tarragon, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon of the Pernod if using.
  5. Fold the parchment to close. Starting at a corner, make overlapping pleated folds all around to form a half-moon shaped package.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining sheets of parchment, tomatoes, sole, fennel, tarragon, butter and Pernod. (The packages can be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 4 hours in advance of baking).
  7. Place the packages on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the packages to serving plates and cut open with scissors – sprinkle the fish with reserved fennel fronds and serve immediately.
http://familystylefood.com/2012/04/provencal-fish-in-parchment/

Sicilian Lifeguard Squid with Couscous

I have one thing to ask of you  – please don’t be squeamish about eating squid. I know these bottomfeeding creatures look a bit freaky with their tentacles and all, but squid deserve a more elevated place on your daily menu.

I’ve compiled a short list of good-to-know facts about these tasty cephalopods to help you in your journey toward squiddy-liciousness. Squid are:

* Cheap! They cost less per pound than seafood, poultry or red meat
* Low in fat, high in lean protein
* FAST to cook – in less than 3 minutes
* Hornier than Hugh Hefner; they have frenzied mating orgies

Mario Batali’s recipe for Two-Minute Calamari, Sicilian Lifeguard Style appears in his Babbo cookbook, which I was compelled to make the other night. I’m not clear on whether this recipe is acutally traditional in Sicily; I’m thinking Mario was going for a sexy title. He explains that pine nuts, currants, capers and chiles put a “hot and sour Arabic kiss” on the squid. Sounds good to me.

Later, I Googled around and found Melissa Clark’s version of the recipe, which turned out to be very much how I had made it, sans currants (maybe Sicilian in character, but not so appealing to me), and including spinach since I had some.

Sicilian Lifeguard Squid with Couscous

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups canned diced or crushed tomatoes
  2. 3 gloves garlic
  3. Handful fresh basil leaves
  4. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1 large shallot or small onion, thinly sliced
  6. 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  7. 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  8. 1/4 cup capers in brine, drained
  9. 1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid bodies and tentacles, sliced 1/2-inch wide
  10. 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  11. Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  12. 3 scallions, chopped
  13. 2 cups cooked Israeli pearl couscous

Instructions

  1. Puree the tomatoes, garlic and basil in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, pine nuts and red pepper and cook until the nuts are golden, stirring frequently; about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a simmer before adding the capers and squid. Cover and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, just until the squid is completely opaque. Stir in the spinach until it wilts. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed and toss in the scallions.
  4. Serve over warm couscous.
http://familystylefood.com/2010/04/sicilian-lifeguard-squid-with-couscous/