Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vina Ardanza Rioja Poached Sea Scallop

Looks like my brother did not appreciate the crack on my Saturday post.  I don't know what he would object to?  He says that finally you fine people are getting to know the real Laz.  To which I only had a simple 2 word retort...

No doubt!

He also went on to describe my Beer Cheese soup as fancy and stuffy.  That his version is more for the "people" not the "food snobs."  It was at this point that I felt a surge of inspiration.  I was overcome with a brilliant idea.  So readers, friends, I have but one question...

Are you ready for a Brother Throwdown?!

Sound like a plan to me. 

Coming soon to a blog near you.  Actually this one, you know, LC!

When cooking with alcohol the most important rule to follow is always cook with something you would drink. If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it. And those so called “cooking wines” you see in the grocery store, I wouldn’t give those to my worst spammer commenter. Please don’t ever cook with them. Please!

Next, bringing alcohol to the boil does not “cook off the alcohol,” that’s another kitchen myth. Numerous studies have been done by people far smarter than I; at most you cook off about 30% of the alcohol content. So, keep this in my when cooking with alcohol, especially whiskey or brandy. Make sure you monitor the alcohol content of your food; you don’t want your guests getting pissed off your dishes. For more information on this subject read the work of Harold McGee, Heston Blumenthal, amongst others.

The poaching liquid for these scallops was made with Spanish rioja, garlic, thyme, shallots, rosemary, and black pepper. I like to bring the ingredients to a simmer and allow the wine to be infused slowly with the flavors and aromas. I keep the temperature around 180 F. The scallops do not take long to cook, so you can be patient beforehand and make sure your poaching liquid is as flavorful as possible.

The desired final product is a contrast between the burgundy outside of the poached sea scallop and the pearly white inside. It is a wonderful effect that my guests were truly amused by.

The other components of the dish are red onions cooked in an emulsion of the poaching liquid and butter. Accompanied by a luxurious celery root puree. I am not posting my recipe for the celery root puree because I am involved in an exciting project with another foodie and I will share it then.


Vina Ardanza Rioja Poached Sea Scallop

That's the contrast you want.

For the poaching liquid:
750 ml Vina Ardanza Rioja - (Any good red wine will do)
Rosemary sprigs
Thyme sprigs
Garlic cloves
Whole black peppercorns
Bay leaf

Note: Quantities are left to the discretionary palate of the cook.

In a saucepan, slowly bring the ingredients to a simmer.  Do not boil. Simmer for 30 minutes to infuse the wine with as much flavor as possible.  Strain the poaching liquid.

For the Sea Scallops:
Sea scallops U-10 - (under 10 to the lb) - these are the big boys
Sea salt
White pepper

Season the scallops liberally with sea salt and white pepper.  Place the scallops in a glass dish or bowl.  Pour the hot poaching liquid over the scallops.  Making sure the scallops are submerged.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap to trap the heat.  Poach the scallops for 6 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. OK, my first question is very selfish...just how do I get to be one of your guests?!
    I eat seafood a couple of times a month and adore scallops. This is a most delightful dish, and the flavor pairings are off the charts...
    As far as the sibling throw down...front row seats please! I will admit I am a bit of a food snob, but I am also pretty flexible. On top of that I have become a bit attached to Alex as :)
    P.S. I not only cook with a wine I would drink, but usually drink it as I cook, lol
    Great info on cooking with alcohol in general...

  2. Very wise words about cooking with alcohol. Those cooking wines at the grocery store are not even good for a desperate last resort. The color contrast is beautiful on the scallop... I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. Love how those red onions sound too!

    PS. Looking forward to the brother throwdown!

  3. hey Lazaro,

    i LOVE seeing the real Lazaro. that's partly what keeps me coming back. and thank you for your kind words on my blog...well, to me at least...haahaa. i really appreciate it cause i know you MEAN what you say.

    a brother throwdown sounds like a great and fun idea. can't wait! hope it doesn't get too nasty...actually, sometimes nasty can be fun too ;-)

    thanks for the info about the cooking wine. i'll definitely have to watch what dishes i'm feeding my kiddies now. and about the grocery store wines, i grew up watching the cooks in my house use it all the time. but i definitely have no problem switching to a good wine if it means the food will be much better. plus, having a glass while cooking isn't a bad idea either :-D

    as always, love your dish! I'm bookmarking this one.

  4. Wow, what tension between you and your brother, I'm interested to see how it continues. In the meantime, what a great dish with wonderful contrasts. I've never tried sea scallop before. You'Re dead right about cooking wines, I don't like them at all, nor cooking chocolate for that matter.

  5. Def looking forward to this "brother" throw down:) lol

  6. GOOD MORNING LAZ! I love to watch a BROTHA SHOWDOWN, and believe me, I have seen plenty. But this one takes the cake; it is intelligent, delicious and witty as all get out, and not as brutal as the ones I have seen! GREAT INFORMATION ON COOKING WITH ALCOHOL. I enjoy cooking with white wine in my chicken stews and I left "cooking wines" long ago.

    ENJOY, Anita

  7. Nice presentation and who would suspect scallops in red wine. With the boys grown up and out of the house, we can enjoy scallops with wild abandon--as in they acted like I was trying to poison them with the round treasures. I think I'll give these a try this weekend before the winter dulls the fresh thyme (a little sleet here yesterday morning). Oliver might enjoy just one. Ear rubs to Audi and Little Bitty Kitty.


  8. I have to stop coming here at breakfast time your ruining my diet, scallops for breakfast it is! love this :)

  9. Once again Laz - lovely execution and presentation. Thanks for sharing the recipe here. Scallops are a favourite but not often enjoyed treat, for me. They're not cheap so when you get some beautiful scallops in your kitchen, they really deserve as much attention and care as you have obviously put into this very striking dish!

  10. Where to start? I an an unashamed food snob. Can't help it. Comfort food has its place too, but I like fancy food. Which leads me to this recipe. I'm printing it off and making it on Christmas eve- so I hope the celery puree is posted by then. The color contrast is beautiful, and I can imagine that the sweet from the red onion compliments the richness of the scallop.. And of course rioja- I have a soft spot in my heart for rioja- I learned to appreciate red wine drinking rioja when I lived in Madrid...Looking forward to making this!

  11. That's awesome, I'm glad you and your brother are doing a throwdown! Can't wait to see what you guys make. The scallop dish is beautiful and I love the pairing with celery root puree. I have to tell you something about celery root puree, I'm going to email you now (lol, it's not nearly as interesting as it sounds!).

  12. I've heard about cooking food wine. Use wine you drink and dont cook with wine you dont drink. When I first started cooking with wine, with my innocence I bought what so-called cooking wine and cooked food with it! Food police, dont' arrest me :0)

    Love the color contrast. The poaching sauce sounds great with ingredients you used. Everything looks flavorful - scallop, red onion, and cerery root puree! Can't wait to find out what you're working on!

  13. Looking forward to the throwdown!! I am totally with you on the "don't cook with anything you wouldn't drink." Cooking wine is yucky!

  14. I think I like this brother of yours and I'm looking forward to the throwdown. Your fancy food is intimidating.

    About the wine I agree. Nothing makes me happier than drinking the wine I cook with and I am a huge, huge wine snob!

  15. I love the red scallop! Thanks for the alcohol reminder... I always feel a little bad when I have a non-drinker at my table and cook with wine... which is almost always. I think if it's a long long braise you're good.

    After that.. I am looking forward to a brother throwdown, I bet the food will be inspired

  16. Yes, yes, a brother throwdown!!! I want to see that! I imagine a lot of swaggering and smacktalk would not be amiss :D

    About cooking with wine - I agree with you 100%. Before I met Peter, I used any cheap-butt ingredients I could find (I was also a teenager with no money, but that's beside the point). Now, we love perusing wine stores for new bottles to try and since we don't drink a lot, the bottles always end up in some beautiful dish. Speaking of beautiful ... those scallops! I've never thought of poaching them in a red - I've always used white! But how ingenious! The presentation itself is worth me going out and getting a bottle. I'll be sure to try your method when we next have scallops. Have a good one! -G

  17. Perfectly cooked scallops Lazaro. If you turn your back on scallops, all of a sudden they are overcooked and ruined. They need to be babied.

    We now seek out dry packed scallops and much prefer them to the watery ones often found at the supermarket. Worth the extra $'s too in our opinion.

    A brother throw down - we are ready. Watch out Bobby Flay.

  18. Your posts always make me smile. A brother throw down would be a hit with your readers.

    Can't wait to try the scallops...I eat them often and am truly bored with my lack of inventiveness.

  19. Yes! I suggested you and your bro have a cook off a while back! Let me know when so I can pop some popcorn, chill the beer and invite my friends over for some entertainment!
    I made the mistake of cooking w "cooking wine" back when I was just a wee thing. I've not quite recovered...... ;-)
    My fav food in all the world is scallops. Now, scallops and wine.... marry me.

  20. I love the color of the poached sea scallop, they look amazing and if I had the chance I order these off the menu in a flash. I would also make them for the holidays, I think they would make a beautiful addition to a dinner party.

  21. I definitely want to see a brother showdown! I'm interested in seeing the differences side-by-side between your cooking and your brother's. :)

    I don't drink or even like alcohol, but I still refuse to cook with poor-quality alcohol. At first I thought it was just some elitist people saying cooking wine sucked, until I tried cooking with it... yeah, never again. :S

    Your scallops are strikingly beautiful! I would have assumed that the redness would seep into the rest of the scallop, so it's really cool that it just colors the outside.

    Looking forward to seeing what this exciting project involving celery root purée is. :D (And the brother showdown, of course.)

  22. I agree so much with you on cooking only with what I would drink... the problem is cooking with what my husband like to drink!

    If I use his prized Whisky for my tiramisu' (which requires the best, and is not 'cooked' so the flavour has to be there) he gets mad!!!! He hides the bottle!

    But he likes the tiramisu' as well...

    what to do????

  23. What have I missed from the blogging scene? Alot!! I cant wait for the brother showdown. So I'll be seeing two different culinary styles in here. Thanks for your inputs regarding cooking with alcohol. I dont know much about cooking with it, though I cook sometimes with it. Just as I love pairing it with my meal, love infusing it with my dish too. I drink while cooking too, haha...But im novice when it comes too that. Just been lazy to read and know how I guess. Someone gave me an ebook copy about the standard culinary fundamentals and essentials, and I scanned some topics about it, its just soooo overwhelming. Thanks for keeping it comprehensive and compact for people like me.

  24. oh my gosh, I just love love love this! i am a huge sea scallop fan and purchase them whenever i can!

    for a while poaching was something i thought i'd never do because i thought it will cause the poachee (yes i make up words) to go bland. but i finally gave in and found the food to be so flavorsome! so this is definitely something i would love to try. great date food, as a lot your food seems. what a lucky lady you have :D

    i'd love to see a brother throwdown! that would be blog gets more and more entertaining I swear haha!

    oh so that's celery root puree. must try that, for a minute i was thought it was grits hehe. can't wait for you to share the recipe!

  25. How cute, a brother throw down. Not sure my sister would want to do one with me LOL- In culinary school we learned that depending on the alcohol levels, it evaporates off the liquid in about five minutes, so you would have to cook it long enough, but just sayin :)

    I love this scallop; it also looks whimsical like Johnny Depp in Alice's movie! Great recipe here!

  26. I agree with you about cooking with wine...a little for the food and the rest for me. Can't wait for the throwdown. I need that celery root recipe ASAP! Very regal looking dish. The scallop looks like a crown on a pink velvety pillow....

  27. God, I love celery root! It's so underused, I thought it looked like hummous at first. I saw this dish when you were a guest on another blog, no?

    and YES a "BRO THROW" is highly encouraged. (I love it when you two spat!) :)

    PS: Laz, where do you get your edible flowers from? Ta muchly

  28. I cook with wine all the time and thought 70% was burned off (since it usually goes to a glaze).I am glad I rethink that strategy when children eat here and use broth. Whew. The scallops could welcome me home any time.

  29. Hello my friend. Long time no talk. I see you're still whipping up the masterpieces! This one looks divine. The colors are stunning and it looks delish!

    Miss you!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  30. Perfect dish Lazaro! Making me hungry and I just had dinner. Brother throw down - lay it on! I can handle it and cooking with booze too!

  31. aunque no como mariscos, esto se ve super delicioso! que color mas bonito tienenen los "marshmellows" como le dice mi mama! jajaja.

  32. Cooked these as part of our Thanksgiving feast! They were absolutely delicious. Linking to this on my thanksgiving post! The celery root just puts this over the top- we sauteed it with olive oil and a small onion and thinned with chix stock.and a little white wine.. was delicious! Not sure the pic is as nice as yours- but everyone loved it!


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