I am a scientist who loves to cook because there are many similarities between working in a lab and cooking in a kitchen. I love to share my cooking experience with you and to inspire others to cook.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scallops with Honey Soy Sauce

Nature blessed us with "things" that are yummy to eat. Some of these "things" take a long time to produce such as fruits and animals; some a little faster such as basil leaves and bean sprouts. There are plenty of "things" that take a while to grow but taste very very good with very very little cooking or manipulation. One of these "things" is scallop.

I went to the grocery store the other day and bought 6 scallops. It cost me more than I expected for scallops. Since the scallops weren't on the display shelf when I bought it, I have no idea how small/large the scallops are until I got home. As you can see in the picture, these scallops are HUGE. Each of them is about the size of 3 regular/small scallops that you see at the run-of-the-mill grocery stores. I felt a little vindicated by paying so much for 6 fresh, never-frozen scallops.

The following recipe was adapted from Mark Bittman's article on New York Times who adapted the recipe from Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The original recipe by JGV is a complicated 22-ingredient dish called Fried Sushi Cakes with Scallops. Since I don't have a sous chef and 3 cooks in my kitchen, I have decided to remove everything from the recipe except the scallops and the honey soy sauce. The result is a 7-ingredients dish that took me 10 minutes to make.

3 large scallops, or 6 medium scallops

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (as you shall read at the bottom, I will use less next time)
splash of rice wine (not in JGV's recipe)
splash of balsamic vinegar or any vinegar (JGV's recipe called for sherry vinegar and rice-wine vinegar; which I have neither. Raise your hand if you have both! I salute you.)
splash of sesame oil (not in JGV's recipe)
cilantro (optional for garnishing)

1. Pat the scallops dry and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
2. Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan (I like to use a stainless steel pan for better browning). When the oil is hot, carefully place the scallops on the pan.
3. For large scallops, cook each side for 4-5 minutes; for small scallops, 2-3 minutes each side is enough.

(The best way to judge the doneness is the empirical way. The scallops can be easily lifted up from the pan when it is ready to be flipped. If it still sticks to the pan, leave it a little longer. I like to cook it slightly longer to get a thin brown crust)

4. While the scallops are cooking, prepare and mix the sauce in a bowl.
5. Once the scallops are finished cooking, remove it from the pan and add the sauce to the still-hot pan to deglaze.

6. Drizzle the sauce on the scallops.

One of the scallops did not make it to the dinning table. It was consumed in the space between the stove and the dinning table. If you have seen my apartment, you know that it takes 3 steps to walk from the stove to my dinning table.

I cut the scallops into tiny pieces to make it look artificial plentiful, which in all honestly, it is so yummy, I can eat 10 of these. Why, scallops, why are you so expensive????

The honey soy sauce is rich, and flavorful as expected but the 1:1 honey:soy sauce ratio that was taken from JGV's recipe is a little to much for me. I think it will be just fine if the dish includes the fried rice cake. But since mine does not, the sweetness of the honey is a little over-powering. Next time (yes, there will be a next time) I will use half the amount of honey.

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