Just us two, to celebrate and welcome the New Year...my taste buds were calling for seafood, so that was on our dinner menu.
Sea Scallops sautéed in blood orange infused olive oil
Slices of Meyer Lemons
'Ahi Sashimi drizzled w/smoky soy sauce
Pickled ginger & wasabi paste
In the clay cazuelas:
Shrimp Scampi with lots of bread to sop up the juices
One of the fun things about living in Hawai'i is the sharing of so many different customs and traditions throughout the year. The Japanese custom of placing Kadomatsu to guard the front entrance to a building or house for the New Year is one that many who live in these islands embrace; however, I broke tradition and used ours as part of our table arrangement last night. After dinner, I moved it and it now sits on the baker's rack by our front door. My kadomatsu bamboo pieces were a gift from a friend who is no longer with us and I can't bring myself to burn it, as it is traditionally done...I used the traditional pine boughs and bamboo branches, but I also added some allspice greenery from the yard, and three pin cushion Proteas, which remind me of fireworks.
One of my favorite shellfish is sea scallops...not easy to find in our town, but managed to find some at the last minute. Friends from Arizona have keep me supplied with a delicious olive oil blend that is manufactured almost in their back yard. Queen's Creek Olive Mill's Blood Orange infused olive oil is a perfect flavor for cooking sea scallops. There are other brands available, but this is the one I was introduced to by a long-time foodie friend and it's the one I have received as gifts for several years now!
I simply place the scallops in a small colander and sprinkle them with a little bit of salt just a few minutes before cooking. Not too far ahead of cooking so they don't lose all moisture. Heat the skillet and add a pat of butter and a couple of tablespoons of the oil; when hot, start adding the scallops, one by one, and sauté on each side until they show slight caramelization. Set them aside until all scallops are cooked...and serve.
The slices of lemon are half of a Meyer lemon...delicious when sprinkled on the scallops, if you wish... the other half was used in the Scampi.
Another New Year's custom borrowed from the Japanese is to serve 'Ahi tuna, and you can expect the price to rise as the year ends, but we found some at a local supermarket for a reasonable price...I sliced and served it as sashimi, drizzled and marinated for about 10 minutes in a combination of soy sauce with a few drops of 'liquid smoke' to give it a slight smoky flavor; pickled ginger and wasabi paste on the side.
The parsley is not just for garnish. I love the taste of parsley and the combination with the 'ahi is delicious...