Taste of Tuesday; Cooking with Scallops!

Duh Duh Duh...the wait is over!!! As mentioned last week, Joe and I had the immense pleasure of going to a scallops cooking class at All Spiced Up.  I don't know about you, but I am a huge fan of scallops, however I rarely cook them myself because I can never find ones that look "fresh" and/or aren't ridiculously expensive.  Enter All About U.S. Wild Alaska Salmon; a local (Jacksonville) vendor of wild Alaskan salmon and scallops. But before we get into that, let's start at the beginning...and just let me remind you that these cooking classes are $35 per person ALL inclusive; a ridiculous deal!
Just some of the many homemade spices

When we walked in the first thing I saw (typical) was a little bar set up with white & red wine, and an array of beers in the beer tub. Then, next to the drinks was a cute little appetizer table complete with a lemon shortbread cookie, and cheese & crackers.  The cheeses that Ana (the owner) selected were delicisious, my favorite being one that had crushed basil in it - YUM!

Joe and I then found our place cards at a table that was already almost full with other patrons. Now I will not be revealing any names, for privacy sake, however suffice it to say that our placement at this specific table was divine intervention.  We had almost as much fun chatting with our table-mates as we did eating the scallops; specifically with our two new favorite "Bachelors" (who frequented Studio 54 like I do a Mexican restaurant), and their darling co-workers.  Did you know that Christina Onassis rivaled Sasquatch in the back-hair department!? Well you do now and I got to hear all the lovely details.  According to our Bachelors, "fur" was very chic in the clubs in the early 80s, but you'd think she could have at least afforded a little back fade. Oh well, R.I.P. Lovie!!  And that my friends, was just one of a couple gem stories we were told. Fear not, I made my two new fabulous friends swear to me that some day I would be allowed to see the outfits they wore on those infamous Saturday nights.  UGH!

Okay...moving right along. Once all the guests had arrived, our hosts proceeded to give us a presentation complete with pictures explaining what we were eating/cooking (Wild Alaska Weathervane Scallops), and where they came from (Bristol Bay, Alaska). They told us that once the scallops are caught they are flash frozen within the first 4 hours and shipped as is, fresh.  I couldn't wait to dig in... Now, due to the size of the store, we did not all get our own cooking stations.  Instead, there was one main station where everything was cooked on a Vita-Chef (which you can learn all about from Ana if you stop by the store) in front of the group.  This way we could ask questions, get involved and still follow along with the recipes; which by the way, are all created/provided by Ana.

Alaskan Scallop sliders & Broccoli Slaw with Vanilla Vinaigrette
4 t Bristol Bay Salmon Rub
1/8 C extra virgin olive oil
3 C red onion, thinly sliced
1/8 C balsamic vinegar
16 large Alaska Scallops, patted dry
16 mini-hamburger bun, split

(Broccoli Slaw)
1 bag white cabbage, finely shredded
1 bag broccoli slaw
4 oz craisins
1 C red onion, thin sliced julienne
4 oz gorgonzola OR blue cheese, crumbled
2 ea Ramen noodles, crushed (no flavor packet)
10 oz Vanilla Vinaigrette (available at All Spiced Up)

Blend mayo and All Spiced Up's Bristol Bay Salmon on rub in bowl; set aside.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Stir in onions; cook until softened and caramelized, about 5 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar and simmer one minute. Remove onions from heat and keep warm.  Grill or saute' scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until scallops are opaque.  Place buns on grill and lightly toast.  Place about 2 tbsp onions on the bun bottoms, place scallop on top of onion, put a dollop of mayo blend on top of the scallop, and then top with 1/4 C of broccoli slaw. 

*Right around this time, Ana's daughter proceeded to bring around & place on our table a bottle of red and white wine. No need to hit up the bar anymore...libations have become bottomless & communal ;-). 

Pan - Roasted Alaska Scallops w/ a lemon butter sauce
(There were sides that came with this, but I honestly don't remember what they were because I was so focused on the scallops.  They were so fresh! Perfectly tender with a delicate hint of sweetness.)

1 C dry white wine
Juice 3 lemons
1 T Garlic unleashed
1 t capers
Dash Worcestershire
Dash Hot sauce
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 lb unsalted butter, cut up, at room temp
1 T finely chopped Italian parsley
1 lb Alaska Scallops

Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add wine, lemon juice and Garlic Unleashed.  Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire and hot sauce and cook another 3 minutes.  Stir in cream and cook for 1 minute.  Turn heat to low, whisk in butter little by little and remove from heat while continuing to whisk until all of the butter is incorporated.  

Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium - high heat.  Carefully place the scallops in the skillet, but do not over-crowd.  Fry until golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes.  The flip over and sear the other side, another 2 or 3 minutes.  Serve with lemon butter sauce poured on tip. 

Dessert...homemade ice cream cookies. 

Ana letting me help serve!

We just had the best time. I can't say enough about All Spiced Up, the scallops, the hostess, and the ridiculous deal. Jacksonville folks, you can purchase the salmon and scallops from Ana at All Spiced Up.  And of course, you can get information about cooking classes (their next one is "All About Garlic"), recipes, and products on All Spiced Up's facebook page. If you don't live in the Jacksonville area, fear not, you can still order most of Ana's homemade spices & salts from her website here

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