This Is Dynamite!

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite

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 from my Sitka Salmon Shares, 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.

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite

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.

Uni Dynamite Rice at Best Friend, Las Vegas
Uni Dynamite Rice at Roy Choi’s Best Friend, Las Vegas

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.”

Salmon and Scallop Dynamite Recipe

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Scallop Amuse-Bouche, Miso Aioli, Shiso

Scallop Amuse-Bouche
Scallop Amuse-Bouche
Miso Aioli, Shiso, Carrot Cucumber Slaw

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.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Miso Aioli Recipe

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Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallops with Frizzled Leeks
Red Leaf Lettuce and Radicchio
Asparagus, Purple Potato, Fresh Corn, Red Onion
Fresh Blackberries and Blackberry Vinaigrette

Remember back in the 80s when “Blackened Redfish” was all the rage on restaurant menus everywhere? The late Louisiana Chef Paul Prudhomme’s recipe caught fire around the country.

Moist, succulent barramundi is an excellent stand-in for redfish with its mild buttery flavor and texture that is flaky yet firm, perfect for this blackened preparation.

Australis farmed barramundi from Vietnam received a “Best Choice” recommendation  from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Native to the Indo-Pacific, this omega-3 rich fish is a healthy choice as well as an eco-friendly choice. Farmed barramundi is often marketed under the names “Asian seabass” or “giant seabass.”

BLACKened barramundi and BLACKberries contrast each other in this striking salad. It’s vibrant, colorful, savory with a hint of sweetness and a balanced spicy character – I think the Chef would approve.

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

The blended vinaigrette is such a pretty shade of purplish-pink, be sure to serve extra on the side in a clear little pitcher.

How to Make Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallops

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Scallop, Farro, Micro Greens, Lemon Basil Sauce

Scallop, Farro, Micro Greens, Lemon Basil Sauce

Scallop, Farro, Micro Greens, Tomato, Borage, Lemon Basil Sauce

I simply could not resist those U-10 scallops at the fish market. U-10 (under 10 scallops per pound) are the largest available. These dry pack, wild caught Atlantic sea scallops have a sweet, rich buttery taste. They contain no preservatives or additives and do not ooze liquid during the cooking process, unlike wet scallops that have been soaked in a phosphate solution.

The dilemma was how to showcase the (not inexpensive) scallops, yet keep the dish simple and simultaneously interesting? Lemon and basil naturally pair well with scallops, so that became the sauce. I mingle tomato, nasturtium, and mache for a light salad-y effect. And then add the unexpected farro, an Italian grain with nutty, chewy, earthy flavors and textures. This unique dish has an irresistible appeal of land and sea. Bright blue borage flowers add that contrasting splash of color.

Scallop, Farro, Micro Greens, Lemon Basil Sauce Recipe

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