Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Scallops Picatta with a Potato Cake a Northeastern Twist on an Italian Classic

Provincetown is the embodiment of the North Eastern shore town. It's quaint. Streets lined with flowers and white picket fences are everywhere. Wood shingles cover the houses with a blanket of texture while trees and grass seem to embrace them as if they grew out of the ground instead of being built. The water is everywhere and the color of the sky if a blue that I have never seen anywhere else before. Artists have come here for over 100 years for that light and after experiencing it myself I can see why. After arriving in Ptown, as it's affectionately known, I find myself relaxing and slowing down. Quiet morning walks are to be had as well as the bustling crowds on Commercial Street of tourists and their families making it a diverse place to visit. This mix of people from all over and from all sorts of backgrounds make it a melting pot and it is in a word fabulous.

The nice thing about Ptown is that there are lots of things to do compared to many other beach communities. Art galleries, unique shops and a diverse mix of food options are all there making a day trip both fun and interesting.

Now food is everywhere in Provincetown.  It's amazing. There is every level of every dinning experience possible from Lobster Roll shacks to full on sit down dinner establishments. In short you won't go hungry.

Now the other thing I love to do while in Provincetown is to cook up some dinners at home. So every Summer I put together at least 2 nights of meals. This Summer I am cooking up a seaside meal which will be both gourmet and delicious. Combining my love of scallops and my love of the Picatta preparation from the Italian cooking school. Picatta is normally used for white meats like veal or chicken. The meat pounded thin sometimes dredged in flour then cooked lightly with a caper and white wine butter sauce. It is delicious. But this year I thought I would change it up by substituting fresh sea scallops for the veal. And I thought while I am at it I would substitute a potato cake for the pasta that normally comes with the dish. It will be on the menu next week at the Ptown house and I will report back as to how it was received. Till then enjoy the recipe Ya'll. See you in a week.

Forrest's Scallop Picatta with Gratin Potato Cake

For the Scallops

You need 3 to 4 sea scallops per person depending of the size

This makes 4 servings

12 large sea scallops
2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning or favorite seafood rub.
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1/4 cup vermouth or dry white wine
1/4 cup stock can be chicken or seafood
Zest of one lemon
2 to 3 Tablespoons Capers
1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsely
1 Tablespoon Basil leaved chiffonade
dash of red chili flakes per your taste
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper
Maldon Salt for finishing
1/2 stick unsalted butter


Pat Scallops dry and then rub with the seafood seasoning

In a med hot pan heat olive oil then sear the scallops on both sides work in batches to not over crowd the pan you want the scallops to sear not steam and do not over cook. A rule of thumb is the scallops should pull away from the pan easily when done.
Remove from the pan and reserve on a plate.
To the same pan add the wine, the stock, lemon zest, capers, red pepper and a half of the herbs. Add Salt and pepper. Cook till the liquid had reduced by about a third. Add the butter and whisk to incorporate.
Return scallops to pan and heat through
Serve over the potato cake, garnish the scallops with the extra herbs and the Maldon salt and accompany with some sauted spinach.
Enjoy Ya'll!

Gratin Potato Cakes ( takes some work but oh so worth it)

4 to 6 white fleshed potatoes
1 small white onion very finely diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 stick butter melted
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
butter for lining tins

Using a Madoline slice potatoes very thinly and place in a bowl of salted water before using drain and pour onto a dish towel to dry.
Add butter to skillet and cook diced onions will translucent add garlic and cook a few minutes till it blooms.
Take off the heat.
Butter a large muffin tin or individual foil muffin cups
Place one layer of potato in each cup season with salt and pepper add small layer very super thin of the butter onion sauce, then add a very little bit of cheese
Layer the remaining potatoes with the sauce and cheese into each cup like lasagna.
Divide evenly between the cups and press down to secure
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Bake the potato cakes for about 35 to 45 mins of until tops are browned well and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and cool about 10 to 15 mins this allows the cakes to set up.
To serve place the cakes turn out onto a plate
Serve with the scallops and spinach.

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