Scallop Crudo from Becky Selengut's New Book, Good Fish
Crudo is an Italian dish of raw fish dressed with olive oil, citrus, and sea salt. The beauty of a good crudo lies in its ability to preserve the subtlety of the fish flavor and bring out its richness with good olive oil while simultaneously balancing it with acid—in this case, orange juice. The best crudos have a textural component: here I use chopped bits of pumpkin seed and crunchy crystals of Maldon sea salt (worth seeking out at a specialty market or online if you’ve never had it).
Serves 4 as an appetizer
½ pound sea scallops
1 large orange
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped pumpkin seeds or pistachios, for garnish
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint, for garnish
Maldon or gray sea salt
Place the scallops in a resealable plastic bag and freeze for 20 minutes to allow for easier slicing.
Zest the orange (you will have about 2 ½ tablespoons of zest). Cut a 1/8 –inch horizontal slice from the middle of the orange. Trim off the remaining pith, then cut the orange flesh into small dice. Set aside. Squeeze the remaining orange to yield ½ cup juice.
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Cook the mixture until it reduces to a syrup (about 2 tablespoons remaining), about 3 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the zest to release its oil into the syrup. Discard the solids and allow the syrup to cool.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over high heat, stirring constantly, until they smell toasted and darken in color, about 2 minutes.
Using a very sharp, thin-bladed slicing knife, cut the scallops horizontally (against the grain) into 1/8-inch slices. Arrange the slices decoratively on 4 small plates. Spoon equal amounts of the syrup over the scallops. Drizzle approximately 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over each portion. Garnish with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, reversed diced orange, and mint. Carefully distribute a small pinch of Maldon salt over the scallop slices. Serve immediately.
Pairing: A sauvignon blanc, such as DiStefano 2008, Columbia Valley, Washington or an Australian Riesling