Nantucket Bay Scallops
After a couple weeks of back and forth with Salty Balls Seafood and Fedex, our package of scallops arrived last Thursday afternoon amid an early, wet snowfall in Brooklyn. Each pound was packed into its own pint container, sealed shut with tape, arranged into a bag, and loaded with freezer packs in a styrofoam box. The arrived cold and fresh.
We had planned to break into them the next night but I couldn’t resist opening the container on Thursday. Almost as soon as I got them home, I dug in, eating three scallops straight out of the deli pint with a squirt of lemon and a little pinch of salt. That first bite was the pinnacle of scallop. Super fresh and so clean tasting. They are sweet and have the slightest amount of nutty depth. The Nantucket Bay really is the finest expression of scallops.
I cracked open a bottle of dry Australian Reisling and threw on Ween’s The Mollusk. Both were perfect pairings. The Reisling’s acidity ratcheted up all of the scallops flavors.
The next night, we brought the remaining scallops to a friend’s house for a party. This time we browned some butter in oil and seared the scallops for just about 20-30 seconds. Just a tiny bit of caramelization. As Eric (on this list) said, they’re done before they hit the pan. This is literally true. Still, that buttery sear adds so much sweetness. For this round, the Reisling wasn’t quite enough. Instead we had an Albarino and it put all the flavors in context.
With just one month in the books, I’m learning quite a bit already. One is, at first I thought of this mission as being about some of the rarer foods - things you’d never see in the store. I want to revise that. I think all foods are in play and the mission is really about finding the finest, dopest, most delicious version of that thing by getting it at peak season from the best region and the most astute producer/farmer/fisherman/forager. You can get a scallop almost anywhere but these scallops, from this location, from this fishmonger, and this fresh from the sea added up to something extraordinary.
Heat your pan.
Add oil and butter.
Drop in your scallops. Cook for 20 seconds.
Salty Balls Seafood, Nantucket, MA