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Chefs add edge to scallops

The delicate and delectable shellfish sees its seafaring charms elevated

Scallops — sure, you sear them. It’s hard to resist that caramelized exterior giving way to the sweet, ocean-kissed interior. Or, you serve them raw and let the scallop’s sensual side resurface. But then what? With accompaniments from sweet and citrusy to rough and earthy, these chefs are adding a real edge to scallops.

Hotate Nikkei Nigiri
Mina Newman, executive chef, Sen Sakana, New York City
Price: $6
Mina Newman sees this scallop dish (pictured above) on the Nikkei Nigiri menu of Sen Sakana as hitting “all the different notes you could want in a dish.” It’s also a pretty accurate capsule of what the veteran chef has been doing at Sen Sakana: merging Peruvian and Japanese cuisine into stunning results. Hokkaido scallops from Japan, some of the sweetest out there, are cut and topped with yuzu koshu, a Japanese seasoning paste made with chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt. “That really hits the trifecta of spice, salt and citrus, all in one condiment,” Newman said. Ponzu jelly adds a sweet citrus note to the mix, and lemon zest ups the ante. “All of that combined mimics the citrus brininess of the sweet scallop itself and pays an ode to the traditional combination of fish and citrus in Peruvian cuisine.”

Caramelized Sea Scallops
Elizabeth Blau; owner; Honey Salt; Las Vegas, Vancouver
Price: $33
Vanilla bean plays up scallops’ sweet nature in this dish at Honey Salt, a farm-to-desert oasis in Vegas that also has a Vancouver location. Elizabeth Blau, founder and CEO of restaurant group Blau + Associates, has a longtime love for scallops. “Scallops are my absolute favorite,” Blau said. “Especially the Nantucket Bay scallops that only come out for a few months in November.” Wild-harvest scallops from Maine are regularly served at Honey Salt Vegas, and Hokkaido, another sweet scallop, are served at the Vancouver location on this caramelized rendition that also features cauliflower and an earthy truffle sauce.

Ravioli and Bay Scallops
Ryan Brown; head chef; City Winery; Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C.
Price: $23
Music and acoustics are important at City Winery Nashville, a multi-venue experience with a lounge, restaurant and performance space that features Meyer Sound audio.
If this newly released dish from City Winery were a song on the radio, it would have the distinct sound of “the song of the summer.” Setting the tone for happy months of decadent dining (beach body who?), ravioli — sublime pillows of lemony basil ricotta — with arugula pesto and local bacon adding just the right background to tiny, tender bay scallops that barely need to be cooked at all.

The Diver Scallop
John Vermiglio and Josef Giacomino, co-executive chefs, Grey Ghost, Detroit
Price: $28
It’s neighborhood restaurants like Grey Ghost that are making Detroit’s comeback so delicious. Grey Ghost is a self-proclaimed meat-centric place, with a menu divided into “meat” and “not meat.” One notable addition to the “not meat” side of the menu is The Diver Scallop, a dish that makes you want to try more seafaring dishes on the menu. After all, Grey Ghost is named for a Prohibition Detroit River rum-running pirate. The big scallop is seared to a color that can only be called a heavenly shade of burnt caramel, served over dan dan noodles, bok choy and cashews.

TAGS: Chefs
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