Sea and Farm
I think it was watching the open kitchen cook and plate so many amazing looking dishes at Bokx109 on Friday that inspired Jon to cook up a storm this weekend. We usually like to go out on a Saturday night but we were contently watching college footabll and decided to stay in.
The theme of the menu was sweet and spicy. The pork was rubbed with Emeril’s Essence and a little extra pepper. The scallops were lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme. Before searing, Jon diced some smoked maple bacon and used the rendered fat as flavoring and to coat the pan before searing the scallops. That combination of spicy pork and sweet scallops was wonderful! Simple roasted carrots (also with a hint of thyme) and spinach with a balsamic dressing rounded out this colorful dish.
This impressive-looking meal may sound overwhelming to an unseasoned cook. While prep time might have been 45 minutes, careful planning will make this meal manageable and easy for cooks of all varieties.
Simple Roasted Carrots
Clean and peel carrots. For a rustic look, buy carrots with stems still attached and cut off all but remaining 1 to 2 inches of stem. Lightly coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Roast in 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until desired doneness.
Grilled Pork (may be grilled indoors or out)
Heat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Season pork with essence and pepper. Add a light coat of olive oil to pork and cover in seasoning. Place on hot surface at 45-degree angle. After about one minute, you should have nice dark grill marks. Then rotate 90 degrees to get a nice crisscrossing pattern. (This is such an easy way to make your meat look spectacular.) After another minute or so, flip pork and repeat on second side. Depending on the thickness of you pork, you may need to lower the heat to ensure that the meat cooks all the way through without scorching the outsides.
Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon
Heat skillet with medium high heat. Lightly season with salt, pepper and thyme. Add diced bacon to pan. When fat has rendered and pan is coated, add scallops. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, or you could end up with scallop soup (too much liquid) rather than a nice sear. After about two minutes, the scallops should be brown on one side. Flip over to finish cooking.
While this isn’t the quickest of meals, it’s a fun one to experiment with on a weekend when you have the time to enjoy it. Better yet, impress a date with a sophisticated home-cooked meal. Scallops cool quickly as soon as they are out of the pan, so you should wait until the pork and carrots are almost done before starting the scallops.