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Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Years Eve 2013 cont...

Back to New Year's Eve and our favorite dish of the evening:  Truffled Scallops and Crabmeat with Caviar Vinaigrette.  Doesn't that just have you salivating?  It certainly had that effect on me when I read the recipe.  Commander's Wild Side has a chapter of "Showstopping Dishes to Impress Your Friends."  Yes, they are showstopping.  And, yes, this was over the top fabulous.

I've always loved seafood.  When I was little we'd eat Sunday brunch on occasion at the Marott.  It was quite the spread.  I clearly remember the all you can eat shrimp as I ate more than any five year old had a right to!  Then, I found crabmeat and lobster and scallops.  Oh, my.  My first experience with caviar wasn't quite as positive.  I was on a six week trip to Europe as part of a high school student ambassador program.  And, I was served caviar.  My reaction?  UGH!  Finally a few years ago I decided that relying on an ugh from so many years ago was just being a baby.  So, I started trying caviar in non-threatening ways.  Like sprinkled on sushi.  Or a bit on an appetizer.  If it was served to me, I ate it.  Still, I didn't have a spoonful.  So, this recipe was a bit of a stretch.  One I'm glad I made!  Then, there's truffle oil.  I'm not quite sure how I managed to avoid truffle oil for so many years.  Maybe it just wasn't available.  Suffice to say that it was love at first sip. 

What did we think?  The natural sweetness of the crabmeat is enhanced by the white wine. The beets are an amazing additon.  I served this on a bed of butter lettuce even though the recipe didn't call for any lettuce.  Then, I added both some of the leftover lobster and some sliced hearts of palm when this was served for dinner a couple of evenings later.  The second time around all we could find was golden beets.  They were equally good. 

This certainly is a special occasion dish.  Now, go find a special occasion to try it :-)

Truffled Scallops and Crabmeat with Caviar Vinaigrette

serves 4

1 head butter lettuce
8 large dry-pack sea scallops, patted dry
1 1/2 t kosher salt or 1 t kosher salt + 1/2 t black truffle salt
1 t ground white pepper
4 T olive oil
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T minced shallots
2 T unsalted butter
8 oz jumbo lump crabmeat
1 T minced fresh chives
1 T cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 T truffle oil
2 t domestic caviar
2 large or 4 small roasted beets, peeled and sliced


Rinse and spin dry the butter lettuce.  Divide it amongst four salad plates.  Salt and pepper the scallops.  Brown them on both sides in the olive oil, using a small skillet.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan or skillet.  Add the shallots and saute until they're softened.  Add the white wine and crab meat.  Saute until the liquid has almost totally evaporated.  Mix the chives, vinegar and truffle oil.  VERY gently stir in the caviar.

Top the lettuce with the sliced beets.  Top that with the scallops, then the crabmeat.  Drizzle the dressing over all.  Serve. 

Our entree was a repeat.  Not too long ago when we were visiting our kids on Cape Cod we made a stop at Salty Lou's and bought some lobsters.  And made Tarragon Lobster on the grill.  Yes, we've had it twice since then.  It's amazing. 

Now, our side dish sounded good.  In fact, it was the reason I'd bought the cookbook.  The title Commander's Wild Side sounded like it'd be all wild game and fish.  Nope.  But, I'd browsed the sides and fell in love with this dish.  Rightfully so.  It's a five.  We had leftovers for almost a week.  And, this was fabulous every time we had it.  Now, I will say that "cakes" was a major stretch for us.  Stuffing was more like it.  The "cakes" totally fell apart.  That's ok with me since the flavor was so delightful.  I did take a couple of liberties with the recipe.  Like the fact that I used canned artichoke hearts and added an additional 8 oz of mushrooms.

Wild Mushroom and Artichoke Stuffing

serves 8


6 T unsalted butter
1 small leek, sliced thinly and rinsed well
1 T minced garlic
8 oz assorted wild mushrooms
8 oz cremini mushrooms
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
salt to taste
pepper to ta1/4 c brandy
1/2 c chicken stock
3 c cubed day-old French bread (1/2 - 3/4" cubes)
1 1/2 t minced fresh rosemary or half as much dried
1 1/2 t minced fresh thyme or half as much dried


In a large skillet, saute the leeks and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of the butter for a couple of minutes.  Add the mushrooms and artichokes.  Saute them until they've given off their liquid and have softened.  You'll want them just a little browned.  Pour in the brandy.  Stir until it's evaporated.  Then, add the chicken stock.  Cook that until the stock has reduced by half.  Add the bread cubes and herbs.  Stir well.  Allow the mixture to sit for minutes.  At this point you can either make it into cakes and pan brown them or serve it as stuffing.  We tried the cakes and they totally fell apart so we went for the stuffing...

Well, friends, that's finally the end of our New Year's Eve.  Since then I've spent most of the time with a lovely cold.  And, we had about 175 people at our home for our annual party.  I'll work on the party and Secret Recipe Club next then hopefully get in some good basic recipes!


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