Hello again… literally stolen from Adele and typed with the same emotion. I couldn’t resist. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last post. For those of you who’ve forgotten who I am, my name is Michelle. Twenty-three months ago, I opened a restaurant. It’s all there in the archives complete with photos; the build, my partners, our opening. It’s tempting to wax on about how magical my days are and how I’m living a life long dream but this is where the needle gets scratched across the record album. Beyond the magic and the dream come true, I can’t feel my feet by Saturday, I’ve discovered that the crack of my butt makes a perfect downspout for sweat – it’s 200*f in our kitchen during service – I constantly reek of garlic, my hair is always whacked back in a ponytail – not the best look for a 57 year old woman and I eat way too many pizzas. I can’t pretty it up. Preparing food for a busy restaurant is feet-numbing and back breaking – full stop. Sound like I’m whining? I’m not. It is what it is.
One thing I 100% love is planning the next season’s menu. It’s the solitude. The hours I spend in my head, in books, magazines and online researching old recipes to which I then spin into something new. Note the ‘in my head’ – I don’t collaborate when I’m working on the menu. I can’t. I have lots of conversations before the process begins but, once started, the wall is up and impenetrable. Each dish, with all of the components, swirl through my brain, landing on top and beside one another in a topsy-turvy tornado of food storm until everything becomes calm and the menu is finished.
If someone asked me to teach a menu design course, I’d decline. I can’t decode it. My brain is a food record storage area with fifty years of archives. I combine those food memories with the season, new culinary trends, the particular talents of my current kitchen team and boom the menu is finished.
Scoglio, pronounced sko – yo, is an Italian seafood pasta dish with any combination of seafood with any tomato based sauce. Every town has it’s own version. Truthfully, every family has it’s own version. The recipe that I’m sharing today was one of the test recipes. It’s absolutely delicious! I recommend sourcing the very best and freshest seafood you can find. I used mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops.
SCOGLIO – serves 4
- 1 lb PEI mussels
- 1 lb small white clams
- 1 lb 16-20 ct black tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined – I used 8-12 ct because I love their drama!
- 1/2 lb 10-20 ct scallops, heels removed
- ¼ cup dry white wine – like Pinot Grigio
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes or to taste
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
- 1/4 cup flat Italian parsley, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces dried pasta – have pasta cooked and ready to add to the sauce
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add shrimp and scallops, browning each side – approximately 1 minutes per side. You are not fully cooking the seafood. I do the scallops first, remove them from the skillet then do the shrimp. Once the shrimp are done toss the scallops back in.
- Add garlic to the skillet and toss with shrimp and scallops.
- Add the dried chili flakes, tomato halves, mussels, clams and white wine.
- Toss well and cover to steam the clams and mussels until shells open.
- Discard any mussel or clam shells that do not open.
- Allow cooking liquid to reduce by a third.
- Add butter, salt, pepper, basil and flat leaf parsley
- Toss until butter has melted and emulsifies
- Add cooked pasta, toss and plate your scoglio.
THE LOVE: Getting a good sear on your scallops requires a really hot skillet. Lower the heat once the scallops are browned then sear the shrimp. I usually remove the skillet completely from the heat source so the skillet has a couple of minutes to cool down.
Thanks for reading.
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