Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Spicy Raspberry Sauce

Scallops are beloved by pretty much everyone who can eat them …. they’re tender, sweet and taste ever so slightly of the sea. Being not only expensive and easy to overcook, scallops are often considered restaurant only fare.

Wild scallops feed by filtering microscopic plankton from the water. They are hand shucked immediately and frozen at sea to capture their fresh sweet flavor.

Pan-seared scallops pair well with bright, tangy flavors that contrast their meaty sweetness or in creamy dishes that emphasize their richness.

One of my go-to ‘sauces’ that I’ve used on numerous occasions on the blog, contains hot red pepper jelly. I’ve added a raspberry preserve to the jelly for a new twist on the flavor this time. The parmesan risotto brings it all together, definitely making this meal a ‘keeper’.

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Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Spicy Raspberry Sauce
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Instructions
Risotto
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook & stir diced bacon until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Drain the bacon & reserve.
  2. In the skillet, melt the butter & sauté onion & garlic for about 4 minutes until soft & translucent. Add the rice & mix well until it is fully coated with the butter.
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth & lemon/lime juice. Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid, turn heat to medium low. Add one cup of broth & continuously stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat, one cup at a time, with the remaining broth. This will take about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup water & take the pan off the heat once risotto is at your desired consistency. Add the parmesan cheese, reserved bacon & parsley; stir to combine. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Sauce
  1. In a food processor, puree ingredients for sauce & set aside.
Scallops
  1. Thaw scallops as directed on package. Rinse & pat dry with paper towels; season with salt & pepper. Add oil & butter to a non-stick skillet & heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté scallops by turning over once until browned & just cooked through, 4-6 minutes total.
  2. Serve over a bed of parmesan risotto & drizzle with sauce.
Recipe Notes
  • Of course, if you live where you have access to fresh scallops, your in a whole different class!!

Coconut Chicken w/ Sweet Spicy Sauce

In late August (2020), I had posted a recipe for coconut shrimp. It has become one of our favorite meals so I thought there was no reason not to try the same recipe using chicken breast.

It uses Panko bread crumbs to give a light crispy texture to the coconut breading. Panko was invented during WWII by the Japanese. The word panko is derived from ‘pan‘, giving us the word for bread in Japanese (derived from the Portuguese word ‘pão’ for bread), and ‘ko’, indicating flour, coating, crumb, or powder.

Panko crumbs are made from grinding yeast-risen bread, which is baked using an electric current, which goes through the dough. This type of bread has no crust, instead, the entire loaf consists of the soft and airy bread center. Panko adds crispiness but being neutral in flavor, it does not over power the item it is coating.

This unique oriental product caught the attention of North America in the 21st century due to its interesting texture, subtle flavor and striking visual appeal.

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Coconut Chicken w/ Sweet Spicy Sauce
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Instructions
Sauce
  1. In a food processor, puree ingredients for sauce & set aside.
Coconut Chicken
  1. Using 3 separate bowls, place flour in the first, egg in the second & panko & coconut in the third.
  2. Slice the chicken breast & dust pieces in the flour then dip in the egg & lastly coat with panko/coconut mixture.
  3. Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Melt butter, then add oil. Once the combo is heated, place the chicken tenders in the skillet & cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden & cooked through.
  4. I prefer to place cooked chicken on a plate lined with paper towel to drain any excess oil from it before serving. Serve with spicy sauce on the side. This meal is real good with some steamed rice.

Coconut Shrimp w/ Sweet & Spicy Sauce

Coconut shrimp …. flavors of the tropics! When prepared correctly, you should end up with a significantly crunchy, thick crust of aromatic coconut, surrounding a center of plump & tasty, cooked shrimp. The concept is simple but it is possible to end up with rubbery shrimp. I found there are just a couple of key things to keep this from happening.

First, select the best possible shrimp you can find. My own choice is always the Marina del Rey, wild-caught Argentinian shrimp. You need a large or jumbo size. If your shrimp are too small, the ratio of breading to shrimp will be off and they will cook through too quickly, turning rubbery as the crust crisps up.

Adding a bit of Panko-style bread crumbs in with the coconut gives the shrimp an extra crispy crust as well as a flour dusting before you dip them into the egg wash. As much as I prefer not to fry things, these coconut shrimp seem the best when pan-fried in a combo of oil & butter.

The sweet/spicy sauce is very simple but plays a major role in the end result. We enjoyed these shrimp as the main course with Jasmine rice & steamed broccoli.

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Coconut Shrimp w/ Sweet & Spicy Sauce
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Sauce for Drizzling on Shrimp
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Sauce for Drizzling on Shrimp
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Instructions
Sauce
  1. In a food processor or blender, puree ingredients for sauce & set aside.
Coconut Shrimp
  1. Using 3 separate bowls, place flour in the first, egg in the second & panko & coconut in the third.
  2. Clean & devein shrimp. Dust them in the flour then dip in the egg & lastly coat with panko/coconut mixture.
  3. Preheat skillet over medium heat. Melt butter & then add oil. Once the combo is heated, place the shrimp in the skillet & cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly golden brown. Place cooked shrimp on a plate lined with paper towel. Serve with the sweet/spicy sauce --- its the ultimate condiment for the shrimp!

Summer Picnic # 4

                                                        MENU

                    ROSEMARY HAM   *   CAJUN CHICKEN     WRAPS    

             THAI CHICKEN   *   PEPPERONI     PASTRY PINWHEELS    

                  FRESH FRUIT with CHEESE, CAKE or in CUPS   


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Wraps, Pinwheels & Fresh Fruit Picnic

Keeping it light & simple but still adding a touch of gourmet.

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Course dessert, Lunch

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Instructions
Tortilla Pinwheels
  1. Spread each tortilla with herb & garlic cream cheese as well as a thin layer of hot red pepper jelly.

  2. For the 3 ROSEMARY PEPPER HAM pinwheels, place 1 of the Asiago cheese slices on left side. Next lay 1/3 of ham slices followed by a length of 6 spinach leaves. Repeat with 2 more tortillas. For the 3 CAJUN JAMBALAYA CHICKEN pinwheels, place 1 of the strong cheddar slices on left side. 1/3 of chicken slices followed by a length of 6 spinach leaves. Repeat with 2 more tortillas.

  3. Starting on the left side, roll tortillas up tightly. Wrap in plastic wrap for several hours or overnight. At picnic time, trim a bit off each end; slice each roll into 8 pieces. Secure with a tooth pick if you think its necessary. Place in fridge until picnic time.

Pepperoni Pinwheels
  1. On lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry sheets slightly. Spread mustard over all pastry. Divide & arrange pepperoni slices on the 2 pastry sheets, sprinkle with cheese & oregano. Tightly roll up pastry; gently pinch edge into roll to seal. Wrap in saran wrap & refrigerate 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pastry into 30 - 3/4 slices. Place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden & slightly puffed.

Thai Turkey Pastry Pinwheels
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey; cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cool before using.

  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry sheets slightly. Spread Thai turkey mixture over all pastry to within 1/2" of edges. Tightly roll up pastry; gently pinch edge into roll to seal. Wrap in saran wrap & refrigerate 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pastry into 30 - 3/4" slices. Place on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden & slightly puffed.

Fresh Fruit with Cheese, Cake Cubes or in Cups
  1. On 6 wooden 8" skewers, alternately thread the strawberries, cheese cubes & cantaloupe. On another 6 skewers, alternate strawberries with cake cubes. Layer 6 plastic cups with colorful fresh fruit combos. Serve all as is or with a flavored yogurt for an easy dip.


Recipe Notes
  • Herb & Garlic Cream Cheese Spread can be purchased or make your own. I found a  great recipe for this spread on allrecipes.com which I used in my pinwheels.
  • If you choose, you could lay some pickle strips or red pepper strips at the edge of the left side of the tortillas creating a center in your pinwheels.
  • If you feel like your picnic needs one more item, add your favorite salad to the mix.
  • You might want to include some  flavored yogurt  for dip to go with the fruit items.
  • You should have roughly about 48 pinwheels, 60 pastry pinwheels & 18 desserts.