BY JOSH HILLMAN, PEARL WINE CO.
We’re miles away from the coast here in Colorado but as summer approaches, Jenny and I have been talking about my memories of summer in Florida and, of course, my favorite seafood. As a kid on the panhandle, summer meant sunburn, a perpetual Kool-Aid mustache and the most savory of beachfront delicacies: deep-fried, bacon-wrapped, bay scallops. On warm summer nights, my older brother would bring home mesh laundry bags straining with his day’s collection of these feisty bivalves harvested from the brackish waterways only a few blocks from my house. The bay scallops of my youth, like their larger oceanic cousins, are a cousin to the mollusk but the only edible portion of the scallop is the tender cylindrical muscle that opens and closes the shell, propelling the creature across the seafloor. In my house, no sooner had the scallops been shucked, than the sweet meat was wrapped in discount Piggly Wiggly bacon and tossed in the fryer. My mother served these tender toothpicked morsels on a greasy paper towel to whoever was nearby. Burning my fingers, the crispy bacon salted the tender scallop meat for a bite that gave me pause every time.
Bay scallops are savory but don’t go as far as their hefty oceanic cousins, for this recipe we used large sea scallops and found an electric, dry rosé from northern Spain to be a perfect accompaniment. Ah-so, rRosé, is made organically from 100 year old vines of Grenache and is bone dry. It is the perfect wine to drink with this harmonious union of buttery scallops and salty, sweet, bacon fat! The scallops are readily available at your local grocer but ask to smell them before you buy. The scallops should smell slightly sweet, like a sea breeze, if there’s any hint of something sour or fishy, keep moving. The rosé is always in the fridge at Pearl Wine Company. I hope this original recipe makes for new summer memories that you’ll share with friends and family for years to come. As always, bone apple tea.
1.5 Pounds, 12-14 large sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 1 1/2 pounds pods) or frozen peas
6 ounces high quality thin cut bacon, or 8-10 strips cut into 4”-6” strips
2 large shallots, diced
Juice of half a lemon.
2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped mint leaves
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, rinse the scallops and then wrap each of them in a half strip of the bacon. Skewer each of the scallops and bacon with a toothpick to keep them together. Place scallops in a low baking pan and put them in the oven for 20 minutes.
While the scallops cook, bring one cup of water to boil in a small pan. Add peas and half of the shallots. Stir them aggressively until the shallots start to soften and the peas are still bright green.
Drain all but a small amount of the liquid from this mixture and then puree’ these veggies and broth in a small blender with the remaining mint leaves and lemon.
Take a half cup of the juice from the bottom of the cooked scallop pan and combine this liquid with the lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
Bake the scallops for another 15 minutes or until the bacon is crispy brown.
Serve in small bowls and drizzle the puree over the scallops. Dust the
scallops with the paprika. Salt and pepper to taste.
“Josh Hillman is a certified sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers and the wine buyer at Pearl Wine Company. Jenny, his girlfriend, is the GM of Savory Spice in Littleton. They love to cook and love good wine. This column is about their journey through matching food and wine together to create the perfect pairing.”