9.17.2016

Summer's Last Hurrah?

Do you ever panic that this will be the last week that fresh corn is available at your farm stand or market? I do. In fact, I wondered if today was that day at the Heirloom Farmers Market.

George, at Grammy's, had plenty of corn and assured me there was more coming. He knows. *

Today's post harkens back to the train trip Mark and I took up the West Coast a couple of years ago, cooking our hearts out as we went.

In Seattle, at Pikes Place Market, I saw the most beautiful scallops, and then spotted heaps of fresh corn. And, then we discovered artisanal pancetta at the Italian salumeria.

As Slow Food goes, it was pretty quick: in less time than it takes to get your first course at a chain restaurant, I had made this really tasty meal in our Airbnb apartment. The meal was for Derrick and Sam, friends who had just moved to Seattle.

This is a simple meal, but very rich and, when recreating it today, my greedy eyes made the portions too big! Luckily, we had the dish for mid-day dinner, so afternoon naps in our porch chairs ensued!

I have cut the recipe to be perfect for two, and it can easily be doubled. But, honestly, three big scallops per person is just perfect for this. If the scallops aren't all that big, use four.

The tarragon lends a nice sweetness to the corn; if you don't like tarragon, you can use basil, or thyme. Or you can leave it plain.

The two distinctly different types of crunch from the bell pepper and the pancetta play a nice counterpart to the soft and silky corn and scallop combination.

It's just a happy, sunny, end of summer delight!

~ David

Seared Scallops on Creamed Corn with Pancetta

4 ears of corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup cream
6-8 large scallops
salt
pepper
flour
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon diced red bell pepper
2 ounces pancetta, diced

Start by making the creamed corn. Cook the corn in any manner you choose. I opted for the microwave version: place all four ears, unshucked, in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 12 minutes. (The general rule for microwaving corn-in-its-husk is 3 minutes per ear.) Using an oven mitt, hold each cooked ear and slice off the stem end where the ear is thickest. Then holding the silk and husk at the pointy end, squeeze and shake a little and the ear of corn will slip out easily, leaving husk and silk behind. Let cool.

Grate the ears of corn on the large holes of a box grater into a bowl. Transfer the corn to a medium saucepan and add the butter and tarragon. Cook over medium heat until the butter is melted and the tarragon is fragrant. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Keep warm while you cook the scallops.

Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Place some flour on a plate and season well with salt and pepper. Coat the two flat sides of each scallop with the flour mixture and set aside. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat; add butter and some olive oil. When melted and sizzling, add the scallops and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. They should be nice and brown on the tops, yet still moist inside.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta in a small, nonstick pan and cook over medium heat until rendered and golden.

To plate, divide corn among two dinner plates and sprinkle with diced bell pepper. Top with scallops and then sprinkle with pancetta.

Serves 2, but can be doubled.

* Sadly, Sue - aka Grammy - died recently and we all miss her. George and his kids have been keeping her memory alive each week at the Saturday and Sunday markets. Give them a hug if you see them.

39 comments:

  1. I love the combination of corn, pancetta, tarragon and scallops. I have never microwaved corn before but I will try this method the next time I'm cooking corn. Thank you David for this wonderful recipe.

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    1. This microwave method of cooking corn has made my life so much easier! And the corn comes out perfectly, too! Glad you like the recipe combination, Gerlinde!

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  2. I love that you employ both the microwaved-in-husk corn-cooking method AND the cutting off the stem and squeezing it out method! Surely two of the finest food innovations in the modern era. I hope to try this recipe tonight! Thanks for sharing, as always.

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    1. Definitely a game changing method for cooking corn, Jeremy. Let me know what you think of the recipe - hope you and Angel enjoyed it!

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  3. What a beautiful combo of ingredients David. I can see why a nap was in order, but naps are good for us
    I hear. Also love how you prepared the creamed corn, amazing dish!!

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    1. The creamed corn alone is worth making, Cheri! And, yes, naps are very good for us!

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  4. You'll be happy to know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE EVERYTHING in this dish, David! ;) Yes, I panic about sweet corn, too! I don't cook with scallops enough, but this would entice me to go out just to buy some to make this dish! Fabulous!

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    1. I am soooo glad you like all the ingredients in this dish. i miss being near the ocean for very few reasons - one of them was the availability of fresh seafood!

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  5. Btw, I'm surprised you don't make your own pancetta! It's soooo easy!

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    1. I have plans to make my own pancetta very soon, Christina - one of the hard things being in the desert is finding the right humid dark place to make these things! No cellars here!

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Liz - and thanks also for sharing the post!

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  7. There is nothing better than summer corn! Love the colors of this dish and cannot wait to try this recipe.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyne! The little bits of red pepper and the specs of tarragon are needed in this mostly "beige" dish!

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  8. Was that train trip really a couple of years ago? Time has flown. I'd be making this for myself as you know who isn't big on corn or scallops. I've never even heard of the microwave method for corn! I know how I'll be cooking next time I'm in a kitchen armed with a microwave and some corn.

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    1. I know, John - I can't believe it has been 2 years since we took that train, and that it has taken me that long to post this recipe! You definitely need to try the microwave method of cooking corn - life changing is a bit of an over-statement but not to much. There are lots of YouTube videos of it. Am loving your and Dean's photos from South America!h

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  9. A beautiful end of summer dish in the Pacific North West. Love it. Thanks for sharing.

    Velva

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    1. Thanks, Velva! I hear you are getting beautiful weather these days!

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  10. It's an interesting time of year. Corn is abundant at our farmers market, too, along with zucchini and peaches and all those other summer veg. But then peas and apples and pumpkins and mushrooms are starting to appear, too... Bitter-sweet.

    Recipe does look fantastic.

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    1. The change of seasons is, indeed, bittersweet. I especially miss the corn and peaches, but am always glad to see the fall produce arrive... and then, soon Frank, it will be citrus season!

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  11. A happy, sunny, summer meal indeed. It puts me in the mood for scallops. GREG

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  12. David, this looks seriously delicious... yep, serious food!! I love scallops and I never make them at home. But, I will have to give this a try soon :) Cant' wait, it's gorgeous!

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    1. Marcelle - I have heard from a lot of people that they love scallops but never cook them at home. I have to wonder why! They are so quick and simple... I hope you enjoy the dish!

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  13. One of my best childhood memories is of corn bbq'd over coals, then dunked into a bucket of salt water. Street vendors were gods to me. Even now, fire-roasted corn is one of my most fav things to eat, however nutritional absent. This dish is so elegant, D. I'm going to make it tonight! xoxo

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    1. I love fire-roasted corn, too! Making a Mexican street corn salad for Monday!

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  14. Towny's sister is coming for the weekend so we will make this for dinner tomorrow night. Really does sound terrific!

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    1. Thanks for sending the photo, Susan! I hope Lisa liked it!

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  15. How pretty is this, and what a lovely 'last summer' meal!

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    1. Lucky for us in the Southwest, Caroline, summer lasts a long time! :)

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  16. What a lovely combination, David -- visually and flavor-wise! So elegant.

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  17. This looks amazing David. We are having a pretty warm fall here this year, so maybe the corn will hold out a bit longer...

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    1. Our corn is lasting longer that I though, too, Inger - and I am sooo glad!

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  18. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to grab the last of the corn. Sadly, I don't see any more around Paris except for the vacuum packed stuff so I am going to bookmark this and take note - what a lovely looking recipe with scallops and such a delicious combination, David. And I must try that microwave method too. Merci!

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    1. It's funny, Jill, but I remember the days when fresh corn was close to impossible to find in Paris - or anywhere in Europe! I am now getting excited to think about what wonderful things will be in the markets there at Christmas!

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    2. PS - my very first "real" meal cooked in a micro-onde was made fro me by friends in Paris - it was so new to me!

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