Diver Scallop Crudo with Apple & Sorrel

~ This is Day 262 ~

This was the first course of five to my #RontiniFriendsgiving 2020 menu.

I actually created this dish for Parcelle Patio and I was very happy with it so it made it to my #RontiniFriendsgiving menu. Also, when you’re a chef and when you come up with these dishes, you’re on the other side of it so to actually sit down and enjoy your own food, sitting down, plated, and with the correct wine pairing, it’s truly sensational.

Jumbo sized diver scallops were unavailable so these are actually medium sized, with Pickled Golden Beets, an Apple Sorrel Gel, and Micro Red Vein Sorrel. At Parcelle, I was garnishing them with borage flowers additionally but that too was unavailable in November.

Plans for Friendsgiving 2020

~ This is Day 258 ~

Thanksgiving Thursday has officially passed for 2020 but my Friendsgiving has not yet! This year, unfortunately, I couldn’t have it on Thursday because of scheduling issues. Not having it on Thanksgiving Thursday seems so weird to me and it’s happening tomorrow, the Sunday of Thanksgiving. I only just realized that I haven’t posted the menu yet. There was a sixth course but my seafood delivery was out of fresh sea urchin from Maine so I axed that dish.

Diver Scallop
Pickled Golden Beets • Apple Sorrel Gel
Micro Red Vein Sorrel
(1st course)

Duck Leg Confit
Celeriac • Hazelnuts
Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

Quail
Chanterelles • Shiitake • Market Carrots
Pearl Onions • Barley Risotto
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Pommes Dauphinoise • Caramelized Endive
Red Wine Jus
(4th course)

Grapefruit Sorbet
Kabocha • Contratto • Candied Pepitas
(5th course)

As much as I can’t wait for tomorrow to come, this “Thanksgiving” is dragging and I just want it over with already. Never doing this a Sunday again… keeping it to Thursday next year and all future years.

I know we’re all still in a pandemic and that a lot of people have been alone this holiday weekend but my friends coming are all the same friends that I’ve been seeing since the lockdown and we’ve all been careful, getting tested regularly, and also practicing safe social guidelines.

Recipe: Scallop Crudo with Blueberries & Lavender

~ This is Day 116 ~

I bought a bouquet of dried lavender flowers back in 2018 at the farmer’s market for $13 and I still have a third of it. I mainly use it to make cocktail ingredients but it occurred to me that I could use it for these blueberries.

NYC has slowly reopened but the idea of sitting outside on the patio or sectioned off road is not appealing to me, especially in the heat of the summertime. So I had a few friends over for my birthday dinner. Just a very small gathering, since we’re indoors. I didn’t want to go crazy with the cooking because it was my actual birthday on the date but I also wanted good tasting food so I did two courses: this scallop crudo and a seafood stew. I know the stew doesn’t seem summery but it’s my birthday and IDGAF. I baked my own ciabatta bread and made a little veggie-pasta side as well.

Serves 4-5.

For the Pickled Blueberries

  • 150 g blueberries
  • 175 g white wine vinegar (I’m using chardonnay Forvm)
  • 75 g water
  • 20 g sugar
  • A few buds of dried lavender flowers

This makes about a pint of pickled blueberries. Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and lavender up to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the lavender to infuse then pour everything into a container with the blueberries.

You can strain out the lavender if you would like but I kept it in there for more flavor. I put 5 buds into the pickling liquid. Lavender is quite pungent; you don’t want to overpower the sweetness of the scallops.

Allow to cool to room temperature then place into fridge and pickle for at least 24 hours.

For the Scallops & Garnish

When ready to serve, slice the scallops thinly and arrange on plates. Pour a little of the pickling liquid over to season the scallops. Cut the blueberries in half and garnish the scallops. Season the scallops with the Maldon salt, picked purslane, Espelette pepper, and a dash of EVOO before serving.

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Scallop Crudo with Brown Butter

Never in my life would I have thought to put raw scallops and warm brown butter together!!!

And let me tell you, it’s like the best pairing ever!!! So amazingly good that I ordered 7 of the same dish, one after another; I just couldn’t get enough!! After seven orders of the same dish in a mid-level pricey restaurant, the bill added up and I had to stop myself cold turkey (haha)…

But damn, the nuttiness of the brown butter with the sweetness of the sliced scallops… GENIUS! I was blown away and I cook for a living so this really IMPRESSED me and shook me to my core because it was so simple and my tastebuds exploded!!!! I’m kind of honored that I work under the executive chef of Charlie Bird/Pasquale Jones/Legacy Records! The combination of raw scallops and brown butter was so incredibly sensational that I couldn’t think of anything better to start my 2018 Friendsgiving dinner with!!

Thank you so much Ryan Hardy!

Do you really need me to write down a “recipe” for this? It’s basically sushi-grade raw scallops and freakin’ brown butter! Don’t know how to make brown butter? Put butter in a pot, wait until it gets dark and take it off the heat and strain it. Don’t let the milk solids burn though!!!

Diver Scallop & Sea Urchin Crudo

My holy trinity of raw seafood is scallop + sea urchin + salmon roe/ikura. I just LOVE these three things individually and together. I could just eat them by themselves or with some lemon and salt but this is a more creative way to eat these sea creatures in a composed dish.

So here is Diver Scallop, Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe with Black & Cherry Belle Radish and Jalapeño in a Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette, Fennel Fronds, and Lemon Zest.

Diver Scallop with Pickled Rainbow Carrots

Sometimes things work out but the cost of having it to come to fruition is another matter. I’m not talking about money in this sense of cost. I don’t know about you, but I despise cracking quail eggs because I suck at it. I am terrible with quail eggs, raw or cooked. I just can’t remove its shell without damaging the egg. A quail egg is leathery and doesn’t crack open easily, like a chicken egg is. When it’s raw, the whites always projectile-squirt out and then the cracked bits and pieces of the shell damage the yolk, thus breaking the yolk, and tiny bits of pieces of shell are everywhere. I know you’re supposed to use a knife but it doesn’t really work for me either. When it’s cooked, the first removal of the shell always ends up removing some of the cooked white so then the egg looks ugly.

I just can’t.

However, when I do manage to get it out of its shell intact, magic happens.

This is a seared Diver Scallop with a Carrot Purée, charred pickled Rainbow Carrots, a sunny-side Quail Egg, Bronze Fennel, and Espelette Pepper.

Diver Scallop Live in Shell

Have you ever shucked a live scallop before? They’re so dirty, so sandy, and every scallop has a half-digested piece of baby catfish in its shell.

I’ve been having difficulty with Lobster Place sending us fresh scallops used for crudo. Because every time when I go into work, the ice bags are not touching the seafood. That’s messed up. So I decided to order fresh scallops!

These Live Diver Scallops were shucked to order, then torched, served with a Sea Urchin (Uni) Cream, Marinated Scallop Skirts, Garlic Breadcrumbs, Salmon Roe (Ikura), and Mezza Mâche.

This was on the tasting menu and also a special for the a la carte menu.