🌊 Maine Scallop Crudo 🌊
Maine Dulse Seaweed, Kumquat, Radish, Jalapeño, Lemon Ponzu, Cilantro
Maine’s long coastline and clean, cold waters inspired this dish featuring raw, buttery, day-boat Sea Scallops with their slightly sweet flavors; and Dulse (Palmaria palmata) a beautiful red seaweed that has a rich, meaty, umami flavor.
Crunchy peppery radish balance the tender scallop slices, jalapeños add vegetal spiciness, and seasonal kumquats add sweet tart notes. Lemon ponzu provides a base of sweet, sour, and salty flavors, where the olive oil adds a subtle richness.
When they’re raw, dulse flakes taste like briny ocean waters, but when sautéed, the smoky and savory characteristics emerge, giving dulse the nickname “bacon of the sea,” which pairs perfectly with this coastal crudo.
Tender and buttery, day-boat sea scallops from Maine are simply delightful with their slightly sweet flavors, and slightly briny hints of the sea. They are harvested by fishermen that go to work in the icy waters then return to port that same day.
Since the fishing trip is short, day-boat scallops do not need to sit on melting ice like longer expeditions, and therefore do not absorb water over the course of the trip. The taste is pure and natural, as the scallops are not bloated with water after harvest. These scallops are treated with the utmost care, and never soaked in a solution of sodium tripolyphosphate which is commercially used as a preservative but unfortunately degrades the quality of the scallop.
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Gunkan maki was invented in 1941 by Hisaji Imada, the chef/owner of restaurant Kyubey in Tokyo. His new-fangled presentation allowed for the sushi service of soft/loose toppings, such as sea urchin and fish roes. These toppings could not be served in the traditional nigiri style, which consists of a solid slice of raw fish atop an oblong rice ball.
The shape of the newly-developed sushi resembled that of a battleship, hence the name. Gunkan is battleship in Japanese, Maki means roll. Sushi rice is hand-formed into a cuboid, rolled/wrapped with nori, then a soft/loose filling is spooned into the interior.
Here our battleship is filled with diced raw day-boat scallop lightly tossed with Japanese mayonnaise and sea salt. Aromatic shiso adds complex herbal notes where a bit of pungent wasabi flavors the seasoned rice. To quote one of my favorite chefs on a famous seafood dish, “It was a morsel of perfection.”
I’m going to apologize for not sharing this bay scallop pasta dish sooner. It’s always a big hit – delicious, easy, quick, fabulous.
The cost for premium frozen bay scallops from Baja, Mexico are about $3 per person, and the rest of the ingredients are also very reasonable. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of Marsala wine per serving, I definitely recommend “the good stuff.”
It’s a super-flavorful, stunning pasta dish thanks to briny, slightly sweet and buttery scallops; the complexity of marsala wine; earthiness of mushrooms; and rich cream. I bet if you prepped everything in advance, it could be on the table in less than 20 minutes?
Be sure to use fresh pasta here, its tender velvety texture pairs wonderfully with the creamy marsala sauce.
We’ve been enjoying Dynamite at sushi restaurants for decades, but had never thought to prepare it at home. Recently we enjoyed another fabulous meal at Roy Choi’s Best Friend on the Vegas Strip. Every single dish was intriguing, with bold delicious flavors. His Uni Dynamite Rice was no exception.
Now, the other day I made another fantastic platter of sockeye salmon crudo, and had some leftover pieces of salmon after I had arranged the fish on the plate. Since receiving my shipment of sashimi-grade Alaskan salmon, I’ve been looking for more raw fish recipes. I pulled out Chef Sam Choy’s cookbook, Poke, and came across his recipe for Salmon Dynamite.
As a super-tasty use for my leftover salmon pieces and a way to reimagine Best Friend’s dish… the inspiration for my Salmon and Scallop Dynamite recipe comes from Chef Roy Choi and Chef Sam Choy. A Choi-Choy Dynamite you might say.
Sam Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Read my interview with him about poke and sustainability here.
Chef Roy Choi’s amazing Uni Dynamite Rice is pictured above with salmon roe, sriracha, yuzu, and sesame. All the dishes we have tried are unique and mind-blowing. On a previous visit to Best Friend we had an extraordinary vegetarian Eggplant Schnitzel, read about it here.
The Chef says of his restaurant at Park MGM, “It’s Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS.”
The complex herbal flavors of shiso (reminiscent of mint, lemon, anise, basil and curiously cinnamon) complement the sweet buttery taste of wild-caught Atlantic sea scallops. Miso aioli adds creamy, garlicky, umami characteristics. A refreshing crisp carrot cucumber slaw balances all those rich notes.
At the last minute, place a spoonful of slaw on top of each scallop, then serve one scallop per person for a palate-pleasing amuse-bouche. Big flavors, bold colors, eclectic textures create a stunning small bite to launch your next elegant dinner party.