I have this thing about food being sexy. I want to eat sexy food. Meatloaf isn't sexy. Beef stroganoff isn't sexy. Chocolate? Yes. Strawberries? Yes. Oysters? Yes. Scallops? YES YES YES!
I get it, we eat food to stay alive. To keep our bodies nourished. But for me at least, I find that I enjoy my meals that much more when I truly enjoy the experience as a whole. It would be foolish to try to admit that aesthetics doesn't impact your opinion of things, especially food. Let's take juices for example. I am a huge advocate of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Beet, carrot and ginger. Pineapple, apple, mint and jalapeño. Beet, pineapple, carrot and orange. Cucumber, spinach, apple, ginger and lemon. These all sound incredible wonderful. I would drink one every single morning if I could. But the $10 per juice is a little hefty. Really though, who in the world has $10 to spend of a fruit and vegetable drink? Not me. However, what I find more often than not is that people are afraid of the color - green juices, they hate green juices because of the color.
My point is, eating food that looks sexy, appetizing, or is even simply presently in a beautiful manner, is that much more enjoyable when the time comes to eat it.
One of my dreams is to learn how to plate food like chefs do in restaurants. I'm not talking about Buffalo Wild Wings, there is no presentation skills needed there. Although I could really go for some buffalo wings right now. Like 40 of them. Great, now all I will be thinking about today is buffalo wings... The kind of skills that I want to learn are those that are used in some of the top restaurants in American, or the world even, - Alinea, Noma, Eleven Madison Park. What I'd give to even be a fly on the wall in those kitchens to get to witness the sheer genius. Although, I am pretty sure I would be instantly swatted and thrown into the trash for sanitation reasons.
This Minted Pea Purée with Sea Scallops has quickly become one of my favorite posts that I have written. First off, flavor - there is tons of it but nothing is overpowering. Each flavor character subtly adds to the dish as a whole. I chose to serve the scallops with a microgreen salad dressed with crispy bacon and a honey vinaigrette, to bring a light brightness to the dish. My friend instantly told me that there was not enough bacon on the salad. That is the point. Bacon isn't the star of this dish, just a complimentary component.
Secondly, I had a blast plating the food. Is it up to par with famous restaurants? You be the judge.
Minted Pea Purée with Sea Scallops
8 ounces peas
4 leaves of mint
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
sea scallops, with muscle and roe removed
olive oil, for frying
3.5 fluid ounces olive oil
3 large sprigs mint, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon coconut sugar
3.5 fluid ounces olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
microgreens, for serving
6 slices good-quality bacon
- To make the mint oil, put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until combined. Chill for 2 hours to let the flavor develop.
- Cook the peas with the mint in salted, boiling water until just tender but not soft. Drain and refresh in very cold water.
- Purée the peas in a blender until very smooth (I threw in the mint leaves as well).
- Whisk all the honey vinaigrette ingredients together.
- Grill the bacon, set aside.
- Heat a frying pan until very hot but not smoking. Season the scallops on both sides with sea salt. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and put in the scallops. Cook each scallop for 45 seconds on each side, then remove from the pan and keep somewhere warm.
- Divide the pea purée on serving plates. Arrange 3 scallops around the purée and drizzle with the mint oil. Top microgreens with pieces of bacon and dress with honey vinaigrette.