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Maru’s market menu: fresh recipe with scallops

A visit to the nearest farmers’ market is the easiest way to eat fresh

Posted: March 5, 2009 10:00 p.m.
Updated: March 5, 2009 9:57 p.m.
 

Welcome to Maru’s Market Menu. Market menus are constructed around the season’s ripest, freshest produce found at local farms and farmers’ markets.

There are so many good reasons to shop at your local farmers’ market. You know you are getting produce that is ripe, and so fresh it is usually picked mere hours before landing in your shopping bag. Most of the produce is organic, so you can feel confident that you are not eating anything that will sicken you or your family somewhere down the road. You are also supporting local growers and shrinking your carbon footprint since, after all, it certainly takes less fuel to deliver an avocado from Santa Paula to the Santa Clarita Valley than from Mexico.

Farmers’ markets are also fun. However, as much as we might admire the bunches of garnet beets, crates of plump cherries or bushels of tender English peas displayed along the aisles, we often don’t know what to do with them. The best food is the freshest. Bon appetit, and enjoy this quintessential recipe from Maru Valencia, a medley of market menu English peas, Asian flavors and a French inspired sauce.

Scallops with Pea Raviolis

Sauce                           5 servings          2-3 servings
Butter                                   1/4 lb         1/8 lb
Minced garlic                       1/2 C         1/4 C
Fresh ginger                   8 slices            4 slices
White onion                                1 ea        1/2  (small dice)
Parsley stems                         10 ea        5 ea
Thyme sprigs, fresh                   5 ea        5 ea    
Chardonnay                        1 1/2 C         3/4 C
Sake                                       1/2 C         3/4 C
Mirin*                                         1 C         1/2 C
Usukushi*                              1/8 C          1/16 C
Chicken stock                            6 C            3 C
White pepper                           1 pinch        1/2 pinch
Heavy cream                           1 1/2 C        3/4 C
Vanilla beans                               5 ea        3 ea
Chili flake                               1/4 t              1/8 t
Scallops                                    15                6-9

Procedure:
1.  Melt Butter over med heat in a sauce pot.
2.  Add garlic and ginger to the butter and turn the heat to high and stir occasionally.
3.  When about 10 percent of the garlic turns a light golden brown, add the white onions, parsley stems, and thyme sprigs. Sautee until translucent, but do not brown.
4.  Add chardonnay to the pot. Reduce liquid by half.
5.  Add sake, mirin, and usukuchi. Reduce liquid by half.
6.  Add chicken stock. Reduce liquid by half.
7.  Add white pepper and cream. Reduce by half.
8.  Add vanilla beans, making sure to split the pod down the center lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Make sure both the seeds and the pods are added to the sauce. Wisk the sauce to break up the seeds. Add chili flakes. Then boil for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
9.  Let the vanilla beans steep in the sauce for 30 minutes, then cool in an ice bath.
10.  When it is cold, remove the layer of hardened fat on top and discard. (This essentially removes all the fat from the sauce.)
11.  When you are ready to use the sauce, strain it through a fine mesh sieve.
12.   Heat the sauce and reduce by half. Turn off the heat. Add salt to taste. Add a little butter to taste (Optional).
Scallops
Salt and pepper the scallops.  Place an ovenproof saucepan over a high flame, and when it is hot, cover the bottom with canola oil.  When the oil begins to smoke, sear the scallops on the first side until golden brown.  When they are brown, flip them over in the same pan and throw it in the oven at 425F for about four minutes until the second side is golden brown and cooked to medium.  

Pea Ravioli                    5 servings         2-3 servings           
Peas, peeled                          1 lb                 ½ lb
Mascarpone                           4 oz                2 oz
Parsley, minced                     2 T                  1 T
Sea salt                                   ½ t                 ¼ t
Black pepper, ground        ¼ t + 1 pinch       1/8 t
Peas, reserved                       4 oz                 2 oz
Red onion                    3 oz (1 small)        1.5 oz (1/2 ea)
Gyoza skins*                     1 pack

Procedure
1. Shell and blanch the peas.  Peel the skins from the peas by hand.
2.  In a food processor, add peeled peas (reserving a little to add later for texture), mascarpone, minced parsley, sea salt, and black pepper.
3.  Remove contents from the food processor into a bowl.
4.  Add the reserved, peeled peas to the bowl with the red onion and mix everything together.  
5.  Place 1 tablespoon in the center of the gyoza skin.
6.  Wet the edges with a little water.
7.  Place another gyoza skin on top and squeeze the edges together.
8. Steam the raviolis for about 4 minutes. They are done when the gyoza skin becomes translucent.
Spoon out five raviolis per serving. Finish the raviolis with the sauce, top each serving with three scallops and serve immediately. Garnish with parsley if desired.
*Mirin, usukushi and gyoza skins can be found at asian markets and in some grocery stores.

In the Santa Clarita Valley there are two farmers’ markets to choose from. One is held 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday afternoons on Market Street in Newhall. The other sets up tent in the College of the Canyons lower parking lot every Sunday 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Jason Park is owner and chef at Maru Valencia on Town Drive in Valencia. He will share one of his healthy market menu recipes with The Signal readers once a month. Maru Restaurant, 24250 Town Center Dr. #180, Valencia. (661) 290-2595, www.MaruValencia.com.

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