Welcome spring! Now is when we all decide to eat lighter meals in anticipation of going to the beach. Here are fresh, attractive and delicious recipes designed to pique the palate and whittle the waistline a little.
In celebration of Women’s Month, this recipe comes from Rhadia Hursey, a private chef both in New York City and the Hamptons. Rhadia combines seared sea scallops with a minted pea purée that is easy to prepare. The clean fresh taste is just like springtime breezes. The purée will work with bay scallops too.
The crunchy hazelnut picada on fillets of flounder adds calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber to create a healthy entrée with a rich flavor. If flounder isn’t available, lemon sole, fluke, or red snapper are good substitutes.
Add this refreshing salad of carrots and cucumbers to the menu and serve your favorite brown rice or potatoes to complete the menu for dinner tonight. Bon appétit!
Sautéd Scallops With Mint Pea PuréeAdapted from private chef Rhadia Hursey
(Serves 4)16 to 20 sea scallops, small side muscle removed, rinsed and drained (about 4 to 5 per person)
3 and 1/2 cups petit pois, defrosted
1 bunch fresh mint, washed, tough stems removed
1 large lemon, squeezed, (about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons juice for purée)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
About 1 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or more if needed
About 1 tablespoon coconut oil for sautéing
Mint sprigs for garnishTo prepare:In a large pot of boiling salted water, add peas and cook until they are bright green, about two to three minutes. Drain well and set 1/2 cup of peas aside for garnish.
Transfer the remaining peas to a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade. Pulse a few times, then add 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves, and process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse until mixed in. Taste and adjust the seasonings. With the machine running, slowly add olive oil and purée until smooth and creamy. If it becomes too thick, add water a spoonful at a time. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl or pitcher and set aside.
Pat the trimmed scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
In a heavy skillet over moderate high heat, add the coconut oil. When oil is hot, sear the scallops (working in batches, do not crowd in the pan) until light brown, about three minutes on each side. Immediately transfer to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm, then repeat the process.
Meanwhile, reheat the purée until hot. Divide the purée among four warm dinner plates, arrange scallops on the purée and garnish with reserved petit pois and a sprig of fresh mint.
Serve at once.Fillet Of Flounder With Hazelnut Picada(Serves 4)4, 5 -to 6-ounce fillets of flounder, rinsed and spiny column removed
Juice of one lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
About 1/3 cup dry vermouthHazelnut picada–About 1 cup1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
Large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, stems discarded
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to tasteTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly oil the bottom of a large baking/serving dish that will accommodate the fish in one layer.
Wash the fillets and remove the spiny column running down the center of each fillet.
Scatter scallions on the bottom of the dish and arrange fillets over the scallions. Drizzle lemon juice and oil over the fish and pour vermouth around the edges of the dish.
Meanwhile, working in a mini chop or food processor, add nuts, garlic and parsley and process until evenly chopped. With the machine running, add oil through the feeding tube and process until finely chopped. Taste, add salt and pepper, taste again and adjust the seasonings.
Spread a thin layer of picada over the fish. Bake in preheated oven until the fish flakes easily and the top is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. The baking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets.
Transfer the fish to warm dinner plates, garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve at once.Carrot And Cucumber Salad(Serves 4) 1 long English/hot house cucumber, peeled and washed
4 medium carrots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 dried red chili, crumbled
1 bunch scallions, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, washed and chopped
Optional: 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, choppedTo prepare:Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. With a benriner or very sharp knife thinly slice the cucumber and transfer to a bowl.
Cut carrots in half lengthwise and thinly slice. Add the carrots to the cucumbers and toss.
In a small bowl, whisk the honey and vinegar until honey is dissolved. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables. Toss together and add chilies, scallions, and cilantro (peanuts if adding). Mix well, taste and adjust the seasonings.
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