Cured Scallops and Green Sputniks
There’s nothing like raw, simple, vegetal foods once the weather warms. Simple dishes, though they’re never quite that easy to prepare. But ceviche-style is my new favorite way to prepare scallops and the fact that the dish doesn’t require cooking is a plus. I tried this Cured Bay Scallop Salad recipe from Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon, one of Portland’s hottest (yet relatively unpretentious) restaurants. Sliced paper thin, the crisp radish, cucumber, apple and red onion slices accented the mellow lemon juice-marinated sea flesh. Red paper flakes and fresh mint slivers really made the plate jump.
And Ivy Manning inspired the other two courses I made (and I say courses because I never seem to have my dishes ready at one time). I want to cook my way through her book. On our radio show she referred to kohlrabi as a vegetable that even intimidates classically-trained chefs and tends to “die a lonely death in the crisper.” But these green Sputnik-shaped vegetables (in the broccoli and cabbage family) are delicious and versatile if you know how to prepare them. We made Ivy’s Kohlrabi Slaw, which is adapted from The Farm Cafe in Portland. Peeling the kohlrabi is key to get at the bulb’s sweet flesh, a crispy cross between broccoli stalk and sweet young cabbage. The rice vinegar and fennel seeds are key ingredients here. Still, I substituted toasted anise seeds and got the same deliciously spciy licorice accent.
And don’t throw out those collards-like kohlrabi greens. They’re an added gift. Again, I followed Ivy’s simple recipe that pairs the greens with toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. Just be sure not to overcook them! And it’s the fresh local ingredients that really make these dishes shine.