Sunday, June 27, 2010

Braised Soy Scallops

Simple, quick, and easy. I came up with these when copycating a meal one of my clients had enjoyed at a spa in GA - there, the scallops were served with pasta in a truffled sauce, but I've found that the brine and citrus undercurrents pair well with Asian flavors, like choy sum stir fry, fried rice, and light, brothy dishes. The recipe below makes 6 scallops.

You'll need:

1 block medium or firm tofu (NOT extra firm), sliced into six thin pieces
1 piece Kombu
1/2 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce (optional - available at asian markets)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
4 tablespoons oil, for frying

Mix all ingredients except for the Kombu in a 2 cup measuring cup and add hot water until you have 1 1/2 cups broth. Add your kombu, making sure to submerge it. Let the broth steep as you cut your tofu.

Using a paring knife, carefully cut each rectangle of tofu into a circle. Choose a plate or small cutting surface so you can turn the "scallop" as you go, without damaging the tofu. Set your scallops into a shallow baking dish and pour the marinade over. Let sit 20 minutes.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet (non stick doesn't work very well here) until hot but not smoking. I use a flavorless oil like canola most often, but depending on what I'm serving the scallops with, sesame can be tasty as well.

Carefully lay each scallop in the oil, leaving room to turn in between each round. Use a pot lid that's slightly smaller than your skillet to press the scallops down (or just use your spatula). Let them brown for 2-3 minutes, then with a good scrape and pry (metal spatulas only, please!), flip them to brown the other side. You should see a nice brown mottling if they're crisping well.

Let them brown for another 2 minutes, then add your broth all at once, and immediately cover. Cook for 1-2 minutes, covered, then take off the lid and let the broth reduce around each scallop until almost gone from the pan. You should have tasty, crisp-on-the-bottom scallops that look awesome and taste even better.

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