Posts Tagged ‘scallops’
Meyer lemons in the store are often tinged with a mildewy flavor. The problem is the rare lemon-orange hybrid citrus ripens quickly and, since it isn’t so self-stable, doesn’t travel easily. They’re a formerly disease-prone hybrid that actually originated in China. So most of the Meyer lemons I’ve had have been a disappointment. Until now.
I was surprised this week with eight perfectly ripe Meyer lemons from a new colleague of Dan’s who hails from Salida, California, and studied at UC-Santa Cruz. They were a gift in exchange for our offer to dog-sit his sweet Julia, a brindled former Mexican street dog Marcos adopted while doing field work there about five years ago. While Theo loved our friend‘s pit-bull Baba, he appears to have developed a new-found fear of canines that I’m hoping to nip in the bud, through aversion therapy:) The gift of the Meyer lemons this week only sweetened the deal.
Marcos relayed that the Meyer lemons come from the backyard of the house where he grew up. His dad passed away last September and since his mom no longer lives there, the tree was loaded with almost overripe fruit. The tree was one of his dad’s prized possessions, in addition to his key lime tree. This detail made me all the more honored to have this fruit, which I approached with reverence. It was tangy-sweet just squeezed into the mouth and into seltzer water.
But a quick search of the web made me realize that when life gives you ripe Meyer lemons, one should turn to limoncello before they go south. I’ve never made limoncello before but have long wanted to. Dan feel in love with it and other fruit liqueurs traveling with his cousin in Italy that summer 2003 just weeks before we met. Most limoncellos only call for the rind but I had golden orbs bursting with juice. I did squeeze a little into my now-famous scallop ceviche. The rest are quartered and bathing in vodka for Meyer Lemon Limoncello, as instructed by the excellent Oregon food blog Voodoo & Sauce (I once interviewed blogger Heather about foraging for stinging netttles). Zester Daily seconded her approach. Next time, I’ll try Meyer lemon mayonnaise.
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.