Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jacques Pepin's Scallop Ceviche with Guacamole

Sharp knife? Check. Fresh scallops? Check. A craving for guacamole? Always!

I really hope that I don't have to introduce you to the culinary genius of Chef Pepin. What started as an extra hand in his parents' restaurant outside of Lyon, France became an empire. Countless cookbooks, television shows, restaurants, products and prestigious awards later, Pepin is arguably the most prominent chef alive. Not to mention that he is the Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Basically, I would faint if our paths ever crossed.

It's no secret that my cooking style is heavily rooted in French cuisine. What I love about Chef Pepin and his wildly successful cookbook and TV series, Fast Food My Way, is that he gracefully applies French technique to all cuisines and does it very, very well.

With avocados in season, I can't resist but to post this delicious recipe that requires little work at all. Living on the west coast has its perks, especially access to fresh diver scallops. Arranging the thin scallop slices around a heaping spoonful of guacamole makes for a mouthwatering presentation.

4 very large sea scallops (diver scallops; 7 to 8 ounces total)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 ripe avocados (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup whole, unpeeled, tomato, in 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons minced poblano chili pepper (or another chili pepper of your choice)
3 tablespoons finely minced scallion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco green pepper sauce (or more, if you like)

For serving:
About 3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
About 12 spicy tortilla chips

For the Seviche:
Cut each of the scallops crosswise into 6 slices, each 1/2-inch thick. You should have about 24 slices. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon salt and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the bottom of a shallow baking dish or on a platter, and arrange the slices of scallop on top in a single layer. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper. Cover lightly with plastic wrap applied directly to the surface of the scallops, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but as long as overnight.

For the Guacamole:
Cut around each avocado, penetrating the skin and flesh, then twist to separate the avocados into halves. Remove the pit from each, and using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a glass bowl large enough to easily hold the remaining ingredients. Crush coarsely with a fork. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups of crushed avocado.)

Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, applying it directly to the surface of the guacamole. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

At serving time, arrange 6 scallop slices around the circumference of each dinner plate, and spoon about 1/2 cup of guacamole in the center, Sprinkle the scallops on each plate with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and crumble a few tortilla chips on top of the guacamole. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

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