Seared Scallops, Grilled Watermelon, Grapefruit & Aperol.
I recently had a chance to work with Chef Adam Kenworthy in SOHO. We had a great time working together in the kitchen. After work, Adam decided to make a couple of margaritas and they were incredible. Since I don’t regularly consume alcohol but really enjoyed these flavors, I decided to create a dish around this delicious combination. I learn something new about my profession every day!
So here it goes! Don’t eat and drive & please, always eat responsibly!
For my initial inspiration I used Adam’s fantastic margarita. Adam mixed together fresh grapefruit juice, aperol, fresh watermelon juice, fresh lime and organic tequila (Del Maguey VIDA Mezcal) , finishing everything off with some fresh basil.
I absolutely love fresh, jumbo scallops – especially seared hard with lots of salt – and they only seemed a logical choice to highlight these incredible flavors. I really don’t like to admit, but I actually like the super caramelized crust the best 😳. If you are able to sear a scallop hard and still keep the inside raw, yep, you’ve got skill! Anyway, we always sear scallops hard, and for this dish we did two – one whole and one sliced. To finish, the scallops are then simply seasoned with salt & pepper.
Always try to buy fresh scallops that have never been frozen! Also, please realize that scallops that come from a can have usually been chemically treated in some manner.
Because watermelon was one of the main ingredients of the margarita, it had to be amazing for my dish. Now how do you make a fresh watermelon more awesome than it already is? Why, its easy! You simply vacuum chunks of it with a good tequila!
It is best to vacuum the melon 24 hours prior to actual consumption. To heat the melon, which was essential for this dish, we simply threw it on the grill and sprinkled on some delicious sea salt. Boom! This truly is a beautiful thing!
Next, we needed to incorporate some Aperol into the dish. To do this, we simply mixed some seasoned watermelon juice with Aperol. I like to use an 8 to 2 ratio – where 8 represents the melon and 2 the booze. We froze this concoction overnight and then scraped off chunks using a fork – right before service – for a garnish that is much like an adult granita with some added kick.
As for the grapefruit, I decided to keep it simple and just brûléed some slices and finally, to finish off the margarita, the scallops simply got squeezed with fresh lime juice..
Plating the dish presented a bit more of a challenge because of the necessity to mirror the experience of drinking a margarita and provide our guest all of the flavors at exactly the same time. For this reason I opted to plate the ingredients like a sandwich – so that every bite would incorporate each flavor.
So, a delicious margarita on an early summer evening and some creativity resulted in a simple but unique summer dish that is sure to please every seafood lover and adult!
And if you missed it at the Restaurant and believe that you might like us to to do it again, please do let us know!