Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Grilled Scallops with Crispy Shrimp over Orzo in an Orange Sauce

This seems very simple, but is extremely full of complex flavors.  The grilled scallops and crispy shrimp have complementary tastes but contrasting textures.  The orange sauce is sweet without being cloying. The little punch of heat provided by the peppers helps cut through the sweetness of the sauce.  The slightly bitter taste of tarragon ties the whole dish together.  And the dish is beautiful, which believe it or not really does matter.  (Read through this recipe before starting.*)
Serves: 6-8
Time:    Prep: 20 minutes; Cook: 30-45 minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a large bowl, a large heavy bottom skillet, a pot, a grill pan, a light skillet, a colander, a whisk, a slotted metal spoon, a wooden spoon, a gallon Ziploc bag, a paper towel covered plate.

  • 1-16 oz box of orzo
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 1 pound of sea scallops
  • 1 leek
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (½ can) -defrosted
  • ¼ cup orange liquor (I used Grand Marnier)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ½ + ¼ teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • cooking spray
  • oil for frying
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Slice the leek into thin rings and place the rings in a bowl of water.  Swish around and allow the leeks to float until you need them. (Leeks are very sandy, but they float and sand does not.)
  2. Clean the shrimp, leaving the tails intact.  Rinse the scallops and pat dry.  Slice the pepper in half.  Place the flour and bread crumbs in the Ziploc with a little salt and pepper. Shake the bag.  Add the shrimp to the Ziploc bag and shake like crazy.  Set everything aside.
  3. Cook the orzo according to package directions, adding 1 chicken bullion to the cook water.  When the orzo is done drain it, and toss it immediately with one tablespoon butter and ½ teaspoon tarragon.  Keep warm.
  4. Place the orange juice concentrate, orange liquor, water, remaining bullion, ginger, ¼ teaspoon tarragon, pepper halves, and brown sugar in the light skillet.  Bring to a boil whisking constantly, making sure that the bullion cube dissolves.  Turn down to low and simmer until the sauce is reduced and becomes the consistency of syrup, (about 30 minutes).  Whisk often enough to keep the sauce from sticking, scraping the sides and bottom as you go.  Remove the pepper halves before serving.
  5. While the sauce is reducing, cook the shellfish.  Add enough oil to fill the heavy skillet up half way.  Heat it on medium high.  Shake as much flour as you can from the shrimp.  Fry the shrimp in the hot oil for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.  Using the slotted spoon move them from the oil to the paper towel covered plate.  Keep warm.
  6. Spray the grill pan with cooking spray and heat it on medium high.  Place the scallops on the hot pan for 3 minutes and then turn and cook for 2 more minutes.  Do not over cook the scallops.  They get rubbery when over cooked.  Lift the leeks from the bowl of water and shake a little of the water off.  Place the leeks on the hot grill pan and allow them to wilt.
  8. To serve, place a serving of the orzo on the plate, top the pasta with leeks, and the leeks with scallops.  Drizzle the sauce over the scallops, leeks, and orzo.  Place the shrimp to the side. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the whole plate.  Offer your guests more sauce at the table.  All you need to do to make this a complete meal is add a mixed green salad tossed with a vinaigrette.
*If you are a practiced enough cook, you can start the sauce and the water for the orzo at the same time.  While the sauce is reducing cook the orzo.  Then cook the shrimp and scallops at the same time, while keeping an eye on the reducing sauce.  This will cut down on cooking time.  If you do not feel confident enough to do this, cook everything separately.  Just keep everything warm until you serve it.


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