I got the idea for the vinaigrette from La Cuisine de Mercotte; when I moved to France in the seventies, the most incredible food I tasted was a passion fruit sorbet. I wanted to find it in the US, to no avail. Finally, supermarkets started to carry passion fruit, in the exotic fruit section. If you buy one, get the crinkled ones and hold them to make sure they are somewhat heavy; otherwise, you will end up with one that has almost no flesh. If you have never tasted passion fruit, you should! I found some frozen passion fruit juice at Indian groceries.
This meal can be made in a jiffy and yet it is somewhat fancy; with the passion fruit addition, it fits the Valentine theme.
INGREDIENTS: For two servings
- 8 large sea scallops
- olive oil
- 1 bunch of asparagus, green and white or only one type
- 2 or 3 passion fruits (depending on size)
- Spices: salt, pepper, sugar
If you want to make the tuiles, these can be done 2 days before and kept in a tightly closed container. You will use shredded parmesan cheese. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and heat the oven to 375F; position a hear-shaped cookie cutter (metal!) on the parchment paper and fill it with 2 tablespoons of cheese. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to turn color. Watch it carefully because it will burn rather quickly. Remove from the oven and cool for a minute or so, then tap it gently with a knife to dislodge the tuile. Store or use that day.
- Start with the vinaigrette:
Grab a serrated knife and cut the passion fruits in two. Scoop out the flesh (including the seeds) into a bowl. Using your taste as a guide, add some sugar, salt, pepper and olive oil and whip to emulsify.
- Cook the scallops:
Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Dry the scallops with a paper towel, sprinkle with seasoning and pan-fry on both sides, waiting to brown lightly one side and then flipping them to the other side, about 3 minutes per side depending on their size and thickness (they will shrink). Set aside in a warm oven.
- Cook the asparagus:
While the asparagus are cooking, boil some water or steam the asparagus over boiling water for 5 minutes or so until tender. Remove, drain and place on a serving plate.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
On each plate, place 3 asparagus stalks of each color, joining them together at the tip in a warm embrace. Add the sizzling scallops on top in a neat row. Drizzle some passion fruit vinaigrette and let it drip, unrestrained, all over the plate. Stick a parmesan tuile in between the asparagus stalks.
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