If I am going anywhere that is likely to have lots of nice food, I take my copy of now dog-eared English Food along with me in case there is something I don’t expect to see but is required for a recipe. Central Market, the place where I seem to get most of my ingredients from here in Houston, almost always has something unexpected I can use. Today was no exception: I was shopping for some pie ingredients, but also came across some nice Jerusalem artichokes. A quick flick through the book and I found this recipe that combines them with one of my favorite items of seafood, scallops. I was in the mood for treating myself, so I thought this would be a great late lunch dish prefect for these warm days in Houston.
This recipe isn’t one of Jane Grigson’s herself, but from one of her contemporaries and friends Joyce Molyneux, who owned a restaurant called The Carved Angel in Dartmouth. Ms Molyneux adapted the recipe from a recipe she saw for scallop and Jerusalem soup in a book called Four Seasons Cookery Book by a certain Margaret Costa. It’s funny how recipes get changed and passed around, constantly evolving into different dishes.
To make a lunch for four you will need eight large scallops. Remove the corals (should they still be on) and reserve them and cut each scallop into five or six discs. Now trim about twelve ounces of Jerusalem artichokes and cut them into thin matchsticks (keeping trimmings for soup, Griggers says). Fry them gently in two ounces of butter and when nearly tender – about ten minutes – add the scallop discs and four tablespoons of dry white wine. Season with a little salt and pepper. After a minute, add the corals and cook for another two minutes. Don’t overcook – they will become like rubber. Arrange the scallops and artichokes on a warm plate and concentrate any remaining juices, seasoning with more salt and pepper if you like plus some lemon juice. Finally, stir in some chopped parsley and pour over the scallops. I served them with some nice buttered sourdough bread, thinly sliced.
#281 Scallops with White Wine and Jerusalem Artichokes. I loved this. One of the best recipes I’ve done in a while. The earthy artichokes worked so well with the sweet scallops, plus the wine, lemon and parsley really made the whole thing wonderfully fresh tasting. Mopping up the sauce with the bread was the perfect finish. Excellent. 9.5/10.
With the Jerusalem artichokes I bought in Unicorn, I thought I’d do Butters and I a nice swish, yet healthy, salad. For some reason this salad is in the Vegetables chapter; I didn’t realise that prawns and scallops were in the vegetable kingdom. But there you go. Facetiousness aside, I love shellfish and certainly don’t cook enough of it. I particularly like scallops – they’re so pricey though; a fiver for three line-caught ones! (I’d feel too guilty buying the dredged-up ones.)
These amounts make enough for two as a main course, or 4 for a starter or side dish:
Start off by boiling 4 large Jerusalem artichokes in their skins in boiling salted water along with a2 tablespoons of lemon juice. When tender, peel the skin off with your fingers and cut them in neat slices and put in a dish. Mix together 4 tablespoons of vegetable or hazelnut oil with 1 to 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Season it well and pour over the still warm artichokes. Give them a gentle stir and allow to cool. Gently grill three scallops that have been brushed with a little oil – just a couple of minutes per side until they have firmed up. Stab them with a skewer if you’re worried they’re not hot all the way through. Allow them to cool and cut in half, then slice down to make thin semi-circles. Next, peel four large cooked prawns, leaving the heads on for presentation purposes. Finally, arrange some watercress in bowls and artistically place the Jerusalem artichokes and scallops on top of the leaves and scatter with chopped coriander and a tablespoon of chopped roasted hazelnuts; and then place the expertly peeled prawns on top of those.
#111 Jerusalem Artichoke and Shellfish Salad – 6/10. A tasty salad, that really brought out the earthy flavour of Jerusalem artichokes. However, the subtle sweet flavour of the scallops was lost, which was a bit of a shame. I reckon you could make it without them and still have a good dish.