Seared Maine Diver Scallops

Inspired by a recent recipe in the Portland Phoenix about cooking restaurant-worthy scallops at home, I tried my hand at searing scallops the other night. I turned to this NPR story, written by local food writer Laura McCandlish, for the recipe. 
The only hiccup was ordering the scallops – I was under the impression that being local and in season, that the scallops would be a relatively inexpensive seafood to purchase. Like they’re expensive in restaurants, but the locals all know a guy, so we make them at home for pennies on the dollar and laugh as tourists pay through the nose. No?
But stepping up to the counter at Harbor Fish Market, I realized they were $21.99/lb. and I was in the market for 3/4 of a pound (6 scallops since they were U8-10). So they were $16. Not quite the local, in season deal I usually walk out of Harbor Fish with. I guess you really have to know a guy! 
But at this point, I was committed, so I forked over my card and headed home to sear my scallops. To start, I heated up a cast-iron pan with about two tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium-high heat. I prepped the scallops with freshly ground black pepper on each side and placed them in the pan. And then I didn’t touch them for about 4 minutes. I flipped them once and repeated the process. 
I’m sorry I don’t have a reliable way to tell you when they’re done – I was guided by the appearance of the sear. Really the only thing you can do to mess up a scallop is overcook it, so err on the side of less cook time, but make sure you get a nice crusty browning on each side. 
I served the scallops with sauteed spinach and fake risotto – which was just white rice cooked with chicken broth, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and topped with grated Parmesan cheese. I may never make risotto again. The scallops were delicious. Truth be told, I didn’t used to love scallops, until someone said they’re like the steak of the seafood world.
And just to torture you, something I had that you might not be able to: the Eventide Oyster Co. burger. 
Eventide’s burger is amazing. Just the classic shredded lettuce, American cheese, a juicy patty, and pickled red onions, served with perfectly crispy fries and a Coke. This is, however, a sporadic special, and even a secretive one at times. A few hours after lunch last week, I saw an Instagram of the burger. Despite having already eaten lunch, I texted A. of the Cupcakes to meet me there for second lunch. 
I was nervous because the burger wasn’t on the specials board, so we just had to ask if they had it. Fortunately, they did. I have no idea if they’ll have it again, but if you see that they do, I recommend rearranging your schedule (and your stomach) to make room for it.
This burger hullabaloo stirred up the age-old debate about the best burger in Portland. I started my list with Congress St. Bar & Grill, Downtown Lounge, and Hot Suppa. Clearly, I love the soft bun, thin patty, classic style. I’d love to hear your opinions. 
This entry was posted in burgers, Eventide Oyster Co, Harbor Fish Market, local eating, recipes, scallops, seafood, winter. Bookmark the permalink.

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