Thursday, July 29, 2010

Insalata di Mare alla Siciliana

This is a fabulous fresh recipe that showcases the fresh flavors of Sicily. The pesto of Sicily usually has tomatoes in it which differs from the Ligurian style pesto that most people are familiar with. It matches beautifully beautifully with the seafood and the delicate zucchini blossoms. The result is a very bright and bold dish full of flavor and texture.

TT = to taste

For filling:
1/2# Sea Scallops, dry pack
1/2# Squid, tubes & tents cleaned
10 heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1t pine nuts, toasted
1/2 sm. garlic clove, minced
1T Capers, soaked and rinsed
1/2 lemon juiced, and zested
sea salt
10 zucchini blossoms, cleaned

Bring a small pot of water to a boil
drop basil in and blanch for 5-10 seconds
shock in ice water
squeeze dry
put basil in food processor with pine nuts and garlic
start blending
add extra virgin olive oil until thick paste forms
set aside
season scallops and squid with salt
sear separately in hot pan or on hot grill
scallops should be well caramelized and still rare to med rare
squid should have a little char and just barely cooked through
allow scallops and squid to rest on a plate
once scallops and squid have cooled, cut scallops into 1/4-1/3" dice
chop the squid
combine seafood in a bowl with the extruded cooking juices on the plates
fold in pesto, tomatoes, capers, Lemon juice & zest
season with sea salt if needed
Use a spoon or piping bag, and fill the zucchini blossoms with the seafood mixture

For Puree:
1 Large Eggplant
olive oil
sea salt
2T Marcona Almonds, peeled
1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of Valrhona cocoa powder
Water if needed

Rub eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle all over with salt
place on sheet pan and put into preheated 350F oven and roast until mushy tender, about 45 minutes
remove from oven and allow to cool slightly
remove skin and place flesh in blender
add almonds and olive oil
Puree until very smooth, adding water if needed
Season and set puree aside

For Salad:
1/2 Fennel bulb, shaved paper thin
Spring Mix or Arugula, washed and dried
2 ripe Heirloom tomatoes, seeds only
2T Aged Red Wine Vinegar, Best Quality
1/2 lemon, juiced
2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Coarse Black Pepper

Combine tomato seeds, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper
combine fennel and salad mix in a bowl
dress with vinaigrette and season if needed

For Finishing:
Set up steamer bath for squash blossoms.
Once water is boiling and steaming, place the stuffed squash blossoms on the perforated pan above the boiling water and cover
Steam until until blossoms are tender and filling is hot (about 3 minutes)
Carefully remove and set on individual serving plates
garnish with salad and the puree
Serve immediately