Quarantine Paella

~ This is Day 15 ~

It’s almost April!!! The month of March seemed like it took forever to get by. Oh my gosh… What will I do for the entirety of next month???

I’m calling this “quarantine paella” because ingredients are difficult to come by. I try to only go outside to grocery shop when I absolutely need to, i.e. when the fridge is empty. Grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market has all the basic stuff but sometimes the things that I want are out of stock. There are also limits on certain things that you’re allowed to buy. I had hoped to buy 15 lbs of AP flour today but I was only allowed to buy 1 unit, which was 5 lbs. There is no “2-day” prime delivery on Amazon anymore. Everything takes the old regular amount of time (5 business days) or now, even longer to arrive! Jeff Bezos should reimburse us with some Prime membership fees! Totally not going to happen though.

Anyway, with my limited resources and ingredients, I made this paella last night and I’m so glad that I can cook! Thinking about my friends who cannot cook as well as I do… what are they eating? All I want to do is share!! I usually make soffritto ahead of time and just keep a quart in my fridge – it’s good with everything, especially rice! But again, don’t have the excess of ingredients to do things ahead of time. I only put head-on shrimp and bay scallops in this paella, the least variety of sea creatures that I have done in my paella history.

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!!!

Plans for Friendsgiving 2018

I’m super late this year for my Friendsgiving menu. I hope this doesn’t become my new habit because the anxiety doesn’t help.

But here is what I have planned so far. Most of the courses are inspirations or almost near exact replicas from NYC restaurants (i.e. the first three courses). Please forgive me for any originality, it’s been a tiring and stressful year.

Scallop Crudo
Lemon Zest • Brown Butter • Chives
(1st course)

Roasted Kabocha Squash
Stracciatella • Pedro Ximénez • Pepitas
(2nd course)

Duck Leg Confit
Red Mole • Blue Corn Tacos
(3rd course)

Maple Lacquered Duck Breast
Apple Purée • Candied Pecans
(4th course)

Fudge Brownies
Chocolate Sculptures • Vanilla Ice Cream
(5th course)

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.

Scallop Crudo with Shiso Purée

I personally feel that scallop crudos require the least amount of ingredients. You only really need some form of acid (lemon/lime), salt, and a little fat (oils) as a basic canvas and move on from there.

This Scallop Crudo is served with Shiso Purée, Pink Peppercorns, Micro Citrus Greens, and Yuzu Juice.

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.

Seafood Medley Fettuccine

Sometimes Mr. Phishfeed gives me very specific requests in what he wants to eat and other times, he wants me to free-style. I forget which one he wanted when I created this but it’s basically a Medley of Seafood (Day Boat Scallops, Prawns, Octopus) in a Sauce Américaine with Housemade Fettuccine and Micro Spanish Tarragon.

Scallop Crudo with Radish & Cucumber Juice

This is probably one of my favorite dishes that I’ve created and it was a hit on the 2017 Valentine’s Day tasting menu. It was so popular and well received that I put it on the tasting menu for the next 2-3 weeks and had it as a special too.

This is a Scallop Crudo with Pickled Daikon Radish, Cherry Belle Radish, Green Grape, Salmon Roe, Cucumber Juice, Tangerine Frills, and Purple Mizuna.

Scallop Crudo & Tuna Tartare

This was the tasting menu on February 28 and March 1. I usually stick to doing one kind of raw seafood but this time was a stack of raw scallop and tuna! The Tuna Tartare is on the bottom, with slices of Scallop Crudo layered over, and topped with a Microgreen Salad, Pink Peppercorns, and Crispy Shallots.