Posted on | January 27, 2010 | 2 Comments
The Back Story
I first had this dish during a snow storm in a small Japanese restaurant in Burlington, Vermont. I’d been to the establishment before, but on this visit I discovered new ownership and a new philosophy. The Japanese man who’d bought the restaurant had vowed to move beyond sushi and Teriyaki and serve more traditional, yet lesser known dishes. The first item on the specials list was Broiled Scallops with Japanese Five Spice Mayo. I was hooked. I was slightly concerned about the richness of scallops and mayonnaise, but the addition of the Five Spice, sometimes called Sancho (though this usually refers only to a ground pepper).
I’d had this in my journal ever since, and last night seemed the proper time to break it out. While we’re without snow, it’s cold here in Denver – I wanted something comforting and warming. This dish is both. I presumed it was simple to make without the aid of a recipe. I also envisioned the addition of green onions and Panko to the top of the dish to provide some crunch and acid.
What I used
First, I set about making the mayo. I used:
- 3/4 cup mayo
- 1 heaping tsp of five spice
Mix the mayo thoroughly with the spice, cover and let sit in the fridge.
I used 1 and 1/2 cups of petite scallops. Petites are probably about the diameter of a quarter, and a quarter inch thick — I like them for a few reasons:
1. The cook evenly and quickly
2. Each time you bite into one, you’re consuming an entire scallop.
How I Prepared Them
I gave the scallops a quick rinse under water and then dried them thoroughly. I then heated up a cast-iron skillet and added to medium high and added a small pat of butter. When the pan is hot in the butter is golden brown, toss in the scallops to give them a quick sear on each side – probably about a minute in total depending on the heat of your pan. You don’t want to cook them entirely at this stage.
Remove the scallops and whack the broiler on to HIGH. I arranged the scallops into two, small Le Creuset oven terrines.
Next, I added the scallops to a bowl and then added the mayo from the fridge. I gave the scallops and mayo a quick toss to coat and then spooned the creamy mixture into the terrines.
Next, I covered the scallop mixture with Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and chopped green onions.
I added the scallops to the oven and broiled them until the Panko was turning brown and the mayo had started to bubble every so slightly.
Now, I served the dish alongside sushi rice, but I think it would be far better to serve the scallops atop the rice. The combination of the crunchy Panko, spicy sancho, creamy mayo and the ever so slightly briny scallops is amazing. The sticky rice cuts the richness of the dish ever so slightly and the green onions provide a gorgeous bit of vegetale acid on the end.
This is a fun dish, and super easy to make. If anyone out there has any variations, I’d love to hear them.