Aaaannndddd…..we’re back to your regular food blog programming! I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog posts from the road, brought to you by Apple and the geniuses behind Hipstamatic. If you were wondering how I got the images to have that moody, retro feel about them, you’ve got to ask those Hipstamatic engineers. Applications like these are the next big thing in travel blogging/tweeting for sure.
Coming home, wading through the fog of jet-lag, an infinite to-do list and the World Cup left me barely inspired about food and craving the simplest dishes that didn’t require 12 hours of prep. This surprising inertia towards la cuisine, so unbecoming of a food blogger, what gives? Perhaps it was the intense feasting done over the course of the past two weeks. From street food to hoity-toity restaurants to home cooking, the meals added generous inches to the waistline, building up reserves of comfort food until the next trip. I rediscovered how dining can be an absolute joy when food is shared with more than the grand sum of two at the table. The laughs, recollections, stories and shared Oohs and Aahs between mouthfuls and slurps, form the pillars of the dining experience at home. Granted, there are the indisputable merits of quiet tête-à-têtes, relieved of the bustle and conversation management inextricably tied with conviviality, but I am a fan of mixing things up a little, especially in the company of long-time friends.
And it wasn’t only the calories we gained. There’s something wonderfully affirmative about returning to the environment of one’s youth after being away. The inside jokes. The turns of speech. The deep conversations about our dreams, ambitions and responsibilities. Reminiscing shared experiences both past and present. The promises to hasten the passage of time until the next meeting. The hope. We nourished our bellies, but more significantly, and poignantly, nourished our souls too.
As sentimental as each trip gets, it is good to be back. The longer days and gorgeous weather make it practically impossible to stay grumpy for long, especially when our little garden is merrily lapping up the sunshine, brimming with promises of delicious fresh produce in the coming months. Add to that the fact that the next two weeks will be filled with rooting for my favorite team, occasionally with a preferred adult beverage in hand, and you’ll see why my philosophy for this summer is fast turning into one of simple, fuss-free and tasty meals. Like this salad.
Courtesy of a vegetarian lunch we hosted a few months ago, here’s a salad to add to your repertoire that isn’t just all greens, vinaigrette or Ranch dressing. Plump fresh scallops, ‘cooked’ ceviche-style, add an elegant note. Tender, waxy potatoes bring substance. Kernels of pine nuts provide texture and earthiness while the salad leaves…..they give you fiber.
The entire process takes less than half an hour (a wee bit longer than a half-time break, unfortunately), but quick enough to satisfy one’s hunger pangs without the need for toiling in the kitchen. Keep it Simple. Fresh. And Fast. This is going to be a great summer.
What about you – what are your plans for summer?
Scallop and Potato Salad (adapted from Real Fast Food)
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer
I’ve substituted vegetable and olive oil for the original peanut and hazelnut/olive combination, and used pine nuts instead of crushed hazelnuts as I prefer their creamy, tender bite to the harder crunch of hazelnuts, but feel free to experiment: I’d imagine that walnuts, almonds and even macadamias would work well here. I’ve also added lemon zest for extra aroma and flavor, but that’s entirely optional. You could substitute half of the lemon juice/zest with orange as well.
6 tablespoons light vegetable oil
6 tablespoons olive oil
Zest and juice of 1½ lemons
A good bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
½ pound/ 228 grams fresh sea scallops, cleaned and patted dry
¾ pound/ 340 grams yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and left unpeeled
1 ounce/ 28 grams pine nuts, lightly toasted
½ pound/ 226 grams mixed salad leaves, rinsed and drained
Mix the oils, lemon juice and zest, ¾ of the chopped parsley, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside.
Slice the scallops into disks, approximately 4 per scallop, and place them in a glass or ceramic bowl. pour over half of the oil/juice vinaigrette and refrigerate, for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
While the scallops are ‘cooking’, boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain and leave to cool, then slice into ¼-inch thick disks and toss with the remaining oil and juices. Set aside.
To serve, place the marinated scallops right at the bottom, top them with potato rounds and salad leaves, sprinkle over the nuts, parsley and the rest of the marinade juices over the whole pile. Eat as is or with hot crusty bread.
Other exotic summer salads from the blogosphere you might be interested in:
- Ottolenghi’s Potato Salad with Yogurt and Horseradish from The Wednesday Chef
- Moroccan Orange Melon Summer Salad from delicious:days
- Cous Cous Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Chicken from Whipped