Scallop Crudo and Citrus

There is a great selection of citrus fruit at this time of the year. For a nice dinner recently, scallops were the main star since they are one of Diana’s favorite seafood items. Since I had a couple more scallops than I needed for the main course (twice cooked scallops, polenta and swiss chard) I decided to quickly whip up a first course of scallop Crudo. Crudo is an Italian preparation of raw seafood, seasoned very lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper and usually little else. In that regard it is more similar to Japanese Sashimi than South American Ceviche.  The latter is typically marinated in a strong lime/lemon marinade that effectively denatures its proteins and kind of “cooks” it giving it a firmer texture. It goes without saying for any seafood, but especially in this case, the fish or shellfish has to be in pristine condition. For the citrus salad, I segmented a few varieties including blood oranges, navel oranges and pink grapefruit. I marinated those with some of their mixed juices, salt and extra virgin olive oil. I thinly sliced and cubed the fresh scallops and kept them very cold until plating time. I quickly tossed them with chopped blood orange segments, a little olive oil, salt, lemon juice and pepper. The scallops were then promptly plated and drizzled with more excellent olive oil and seasoned them with black salt for some crunch and color contrast. For another unique citrus-y accent I borrowed a recipe from the Alinea cookbook and made a Meyer lemon puree. That’s made by quartering and de-seeding a few Meyer lemons and then pureeing them in the blender pulp, skin and all with a little salt, water and sugar. I put this in a squeeze bottle and used small dollops of it on the plated Crudo and around the plate. The smooth bitter, tart and very flavorful puree offset the mildness of the scallops perfectly.

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