Every once in a while I get struck with a thought that scares the holy bejesus out of me. It happened a few weeks ago when I was sitting in my beach chair, eating cherries, soaking up the sun, and digging my toes in the sand in Ocean City. It happened when I drove along the shore later that day, windows down, sucking in deep breaths of sea air. It happened again when I went to the fish market and bought these sea scallops, dry packed and caught literally that morning. I thought to myself, "Thank God I live in New Jersey."
What? Shut the front door! Me? Loving New Jersey? It's like I've become a pod person. Who the hell do I think I am? I'm meant to hate this Yankee lover's armpit of the country, but lo and behold! It is growing on me, not unlike a fungus, albeit a tasty one. I think it's got to do with being land locked in Michigan for two years (I know, I know, Michiganders, it's the Great Lakes State! But seriously people, you can't get farther from the ocean and we all know that Whitefish you all rave about is just that. White fish). The lack of fresh seafood was incredibly painful for a girl who can wade out into the bay for clams whenever she wants (not that I ever did that in RI, to be honest. I let E and his step dad take care of the heavy labor). Being back shore side, especially in the summer, has brought me back to a place I can actually enjoy the food and the landscape. Amazing. Who knows, Jersey may actually end up like home.
Seared Sea Scallops with Spicy Peach Salsa
(say that one three times fast!)
1 lb. sea scallops (preferably dry)
2 peaches, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 Tbls. honey
1 Tbls red wine vinegar
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 Tbls. olive oil
Toss peaches, jalapeño, onion, honey, and vinegar in a bowl. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper and set aside.
Heat olive oil and a pat of butter in a large skillet (preferably not a non-stick skillet!) over medium high heat. Wash scallops and remove any of the little muscles clinging to the sides. Pat dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Once your pan is very hot, add scallops flat side down, being sure not to crowd the pan. By now you've all watched enough Food Network to know to leave them alone. Resist the urge to touch them and turn them! Give the scallops at least 3 minutes to brown before you peek. If they are nice and crusty, turn them. Give them another 3 or 4 minutes to brown on the other side and remove immediately from pan. Trust me, the last thing you want is a tough, overcooked scallop!
Arrange on plates and serve with a generous scoop of peach salsa.