East Bay View (a blog about several things)

now 98% free of substantive content

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"It's Too Soon to Know"

"am i the fire/or just another flame?"

I'd never broiled before, and Monday seemed like a good time to start. At the Berkeley Bowl I picked up two Really Freaking Huge Previously-Frozen Scallops, three ounce monstrosities whose freezing turned out to be not-so-Previous, plus a halibut steak for the next day, setting me back fourteen bucks together. To accompany the scallops, I bought a huge bunch of medium asparagus. The stalks were as thick as you can get without requiring peeling.

I blanched almost a pound of asparagus, then sprinkled some salt and drizzled some olive oil on top. I seasoned the scallops with pepper, dried parsley and basil, then topped each with a slice of butter. I broiled them pretty close to the flame for eight minutes.

Upon removing the tray from the oven, I was concerned that the asparagus near the centre of the tray was slightly singed. My worries dissipated as soon as I tasted the asparagus: such a hearty, asparagusy flavour! I abandoned plans to dress the stalks and started scoffing them straight off the tray. The scallops, on the other hand, were disappointing: they tasted like they had been frozen for too long. Still, when I tried to repeat the recipe without the scallops the next morning, it wasn't the same.

Yesterday I was in a braising mood. The key to braising is to know what liquid to use. Here's a bluffer's guide:

Red meat -- wine
Poultry -- wine
Vegetables -- wine
Seafood -- wine

To be honest, I used a half-and-half mixture of budget chardonnay and vegetable stock. First I braised red cabbage and red creamer potatoes, then the halibut. For the second day in a row, the vegetables tasted better than the more expensive seafood. The halibut was better than the scallops, still fresh after a day, but with fairly mild taste. The cabbage was pretty good: the wine-to-stock ratio was correct.

Coming: The East Bakery Project, and uh, which bit of the artichoke is the edible part?

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home