Friday, March 11, 2005

Scallops St.Techamuanvivit

I read on Chez Pim the other day about a recipe for braised scallops with a curry sauce. We invited my girlfriend's mom and dad over to try it. Amazingly, dad had already read the blog on the scallops and so it was a case of convergent evolution towards dinner. Here is (part of) the photo from Chez Pim:

Her recipe sounded really tantalizing, and her description of how she came up with it sounded very organic. If you want to read about it check out her site. It is essentially rice cooked with stock instead of water (you can substitute some water for the stock, we did 2:1 stock to water) incorporating some lightly caramelized leeks (we also used shallots because we only had two leeks), braised scallops with a curry sauce, and flash-fried leeks garnishing all.
The curry sauce in the recipe is identical to the basis for the curries I make, essentially the Thai standard: coco milk, fish sauce, curry paste, sugar. I was out of palm sugar so I used brown instead, it was just fine. It's important to use a good quality fish sauce as well. Cheap, second-pressing versions will make you regret their purchase. Pim wants you to reduce the curry (always a good idea) prior to use.
We all enjoyed the rice heartily. I used my special blend of Indian Jasmine, Thai Black, and Chinese Golden rice (so a long, medium, and short grain) which all gets stained purple by the Thai Black rice. The oh-so-European instructions to caramelize the leeks and then briefly fry the rice with them before putting them in the cooker had very good results.
All four of us are scallop people. We picked up the scallops at a local Japanese grocer, and they were definitely of sashimi quality. I was barbecuing some eggplant and salmon as well, so I let E. cook the scallops. She did a good job, but I think all four of us thought they ended up a little fishy. One person commented that they may have been better off left as sashimi!
That was probably too strong, because the scallops were good as they were. Also the garnish of flash-fried leeks was wonderful, and added the extra dimension of flavor and texture alluded to in Pim's original article.

On a side note, Dr. Five Pints didn't imbibe at all last night. Thus begins day three of a non-drinking binge. The reason is this: I am voluntarily going to have my liver tested by doctors in about a month for reasons only tangentially related to health. I don't want the doc to echo the one in The Pianist when he said "Liver the size of a football, but he'll live!". SO...with the extra funds I won't be throwing at beers of the world this month I'll be able to consistently use the best ingredients.


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