Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scallops and Shrimp with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Jalapeno Chive Aioli

Here's a beautiful, light mid-week meal that can also stand up as a fancy offering to your guests at your next dinner party. I was able to find some wonderful sea scallops (flash frozen) at Costco last week and at the same time purchased a bag of frozen 21/30 shrimp. If you've ever wondered what those numbers mean on the package, they refer to the size of the shrimp. 21/30 means there are approximately 21-30 shrimp per pound. The larger the number, the smaller the shrimp. Check out the table below for a quick reference. 

Shrimp Count Sizes
Shrimp per pound:
• 10 shrimp or less = Colossal
• 11 to 15 = Jumbo
• 16 to 20 = Extra-large
• 21 to 30 = Large
• 31 to 35 = Medium
• 36 to 45 = Small
• about 100 = Miniature

Did you know that there are over 300 varieties of shrimp? The largest are not actually shrimp at all, but prawns, which are part of the lobster family. A delicacy here on the West Coast of British Columbia, are Spot Prawns, which are only available fresh in May and June. Check back with me for a delicious Fresh BC Spot Prawn recipe later in spring.

I absolutely LOVE scallops as they are not only healthy (high in Omega 3's and low in fat), but extremely versatile. Scallops can be sauteed, panfried, broiled, grilled, BBQ'd and made into a bisque or chowder. The most popular scallop varieties are sea scallops (the largest), pink, calico and bay scallops. The key in succeeding with your scallop recipe, is to NOT overcook them, or they become tough.

8 sea scallops
12 large shrimp
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

For the rub:
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground anise
1 tsp whole mustard seed

With mortar and pestle grind the spices together use as rub for the prawns and scallops. Set aside.

For the Roasted Red Pepper Coulis:
3 roasted red bell peppers* (see method below)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
1/8 tsp sea salt

For the Jalepeno Chive Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 jalapeno
1 small bunch fresh chives

1. Place whole red peppers on baking sheet and roast on middle rack under broiler, turning over once until charred and soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and place in sealed paper bag until cool. Remove from bag and peel off charred skin. Remove seeds and stems and place in blender. Add paprika, vinegar and salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

2. In food processor blend olive oil, chives, garlic, lime juice and jalapeno. Place mayonnaise in mixing bowl and slowly whisk in olive-chive mixture until smooth and glossy. Fill prepared aioli into a plastic squeeze bottle for easy garnish technique.

3. Heat red pepper coulis in small saucepan on medium-low heat until just heated through. In a separate skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Place shrimp and scallops in pan to sear, 4 minutes on one side, then turn and sear an additional minute or so just until golden. Remove from heat.

To serve, place about 2-3 Tbsp of the red pepper coulis on plate. Arrange scallops and shrimp on top and garnish with a few squeezes of aioli. Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives. I served this dish with a yam and potato mash garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Serves 4.

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