Saturday, October 27, 2007

Scallops and Shrimp with Chourico

Scallops and Shrimp with Chourico

Special Today!  Scallops and Shrimp with Chourico

Since it is Tuesday here in the grand valley, the fish trucks have arrived
from California.  So it is the best day to purchase seafood.  I
wandered down to the market to take a look at what came in on the trucks. 
I picked a few shrimp up and a smattering of scallops.


Once the are cleaned, I ice them down til it is time to cook them. 
Seafood's most common problem is being over cooked.  If you find yourself
eating seafood with the consistency of window caulking or gum eraser quality,
someone fell a sleep at the switch and cooked the crap out of it.  While
that is on ice, I set up to do the vegetable, since that will take the most
time.  I toss the rice in the rice cooker as soon as I am done with the
seafood prep, so it is already steaming.

Since this years vines produced an incredible about of acorn squash I have
plenty on hand.  I have been on the mission to develop some vegetable
dishes that are useable through the winter.  I have some ideas!!!

I lop the top off and seed the sucker.  Most people split them through
the stem.  I like the presentation of them topped and seeded.  A small
slice off the bottom allows them to sit flat, both for roasting and for plating.

I have selected a little butternut squash, a small amount of Mayan sweet
onion, the acorn squash diced and some craisins.  Still does not seem
balanced to me, need some zip.  I know...........

Chourico sausage, a nice textured, well seasoned Portuguese sausage.  I
get mine shipped in from Gaspar's out of Rhode Island.  This will do nicely
along with a little salt, pepper, and a hint of fennel and cardamom.

Into the Ziploc steamer bag, and 8 minutes later it will be ready for
roasting.  I always steam first and the roast as a second step.  I
like the mouth feel better of roasted vegetables if they have been steamed prior
to roasting.

While that is steaming it is time to choose a wine.  Looking in the wine
cellar I spot a really nice Muller Thurgau, but not from Germany, this one hails
from the Northeast corner of Italy.  Nice light honeysuckle with meyer
lemon on the nose, and a beautiful melon taste with a little lemon on the
finish.  This is a nice drinking white wine!

I open it up and taste it...... yep the chef needs a glass of this now and
with dinner.

Things are getting close so I pull the seafood off the ice and pan it up in
one of my Calphalon gratin pans.  Seasoned with my version of Old Bay, and
add in a little Chourico to tie it all together.

Then I remove the Acorn filled squash from the steam bag and pan it for

Once everything is panned it is into a 350 F oven for the roasting.

And 15 minutes later dinner will be served!  I was very happy with the
outcome.  If you are wondering how it gets done in 15 minutes, I place my
Calphalon gratin pans in the oven when I preheat it, so my pans start hot and
can transfer heat to the food immediately.  Plus I cook with them on top
the pizza stone, the stone hold a lot of heat and can very rapidly replace the
heat being lost to the food.  Now ya know!

And so I set out the table for my single person feast.  Insane, maybe,
enjoyable you bet!

Now with dinner on a toast to all of you who love to cook, keep at it, the
secret to hitting the spectacular dishes is to keep cooking, keep testing and
keep refining it.  I read a lot of cookbooks, I mean read them, when you
read them try to understand what the flavor profile is and how they combine to
create the unique taste.  This is the secret to mapping the mind to produce
excellent results out of your head!

'til we speak again, put a little effort into dinner, even if it is just you
eating, you will find it fun and the dinner is so much better when you put the
effort into it!

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA 

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