By SIMON WEBSTER
I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. The best part for me was cooking a special menu inspired by the color red. Everyone had a great time and the food was as beautiful as the red roses on each table.
One of the favorites of the night was a seared scallop appetizer with a mango salsa that I served in a romaine leaf. It could be served on its own, add more lettuce to make it a salad, or double the ingredients, add some rice and you have a meal.
The meaty and oceanic flavor of the sea scallops goes so well with the sweet mango, creamy avocado and the acid in the oranges. I used blood oranges to accentuate the red color, but tangerines or Texas pink grapefruit would work too.
I created this recipe when I used to travel to Fiji. It was a popular vacation spot for New Zealanders and I used to holiday there with cousins who moved there. That seems so long ago. All the kids have grown up and, funny thing, one cousin and I have somehow found ourway to Texas. He works for the San Antonio Spurs and also used to play for them. Maybe someday we will both make it back to Fiji to relive the old days and take advantage of all the great fresh seafood.
What an inspiration good, fresh fish can be. The secret to cooking the scallops is to get the pan very, very hot and make sure your scallops are very, very dry. That will give you that nice, crisp exterior and keep them from sticking to the pan. Don’t force them to turn. When they are ready they will release from the pan and be ready to flip. If you like you can substitute some fresh Gulf shrimp.
Seared Scallops with Mango-Avocado Salsa
2 finely chopped green onions
1 pinch of dried chili flakes
1 mango, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
2 large oranges, cup into segments
A dash of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
8 large sea scallops
Combine all ingredients except the scallops in a bowl and refrigerate until well chilled. About one hour. For the scallops dry both sides by blotting with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a very hot pan with two tablespoons of oil. Sear on both sides until brown. Take out and serve on top of the salsa which has been placed on two romaine lettuce leaves.
Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.