It’s January … There’s Snow on the Ground … and I’m Dreaming of Summer Gardens … and Corn (!!?)

Pairing:  Bay Scallops with Corn and Orzo Paired with a 2018 Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay.

My Dad passed away almost fifty years ago … I still think of him often. My love of good food and cooking came, I’m sure, from his DNA. We recently enjoyed a meal that featured two of his favorite foods … bay scallops and fresh corn (well … frozen fresh corn). One could say that Dad was a pediatrician by profession, and a gourmet cook and gardener by avocation. Although Mom prepared (and quite nicely) the vast majority of our dinners, Dad took charge of the kitchen when something special was in the offing. Bay scallops, broiled in butter, was one of his most memorable creations. And, in the months of August and September, our monstrous vegetable garden yielded a cornucopia of delights, the highlight of which was corn. Sweet yellow corn. Seneca Chief. Being the youngest of the family, my job was to stand ready to race out to pick the corn at the moment when a huge pot of water on the stove was set to boil. I had to work fast. Pick the corn, shuck it clean and present it to the cook for inspection. Strands of silk stuck to the ears were frowned upon and … God forbid there be any bugs or worms hidden in the cob. Summer in those times was delineated by when the corn was ripe. And, boy, did we eat a lot of it. 

With that bit of family lore, let’s move on to this present day meal … an absolutely fantastic creation featuring bay scallops, corn and orzo. What are bay scallops and how are they different from sea scallops? Bay scallops, as the name implies, live in bays and estuaries along the east coast of the U.S. Whereas sea scallops are found in much deeper ocean water (around 500 feet) and more widely distributed in the world’s oceans. Bay scallops are smaller, around a third of the size of sea scallops, more tender and sweeter. We based this dish on a recipe from the Cooking section of the New York Times. Cook the orzo. Pan-sear the scallops, deglaze with a bit of the water that the orzo was cooked in. Add some garlic to the pan along with some lemon juice. Add the corn and scallions. Cook until the liquids evaporate. Combine all ingredients and finish it off with some grated parmigiana and basil. A truly amazing combination of flavors.

Wine:  The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is a well regarded wine sub-region within the large Central Coast Wine Region, noted particularly for the quality of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah wines being made in what is referred to as a cool-climate viticultural area. The lower temperatures of this area are due to the steady breezes coming in off the cold Pacific Ocean on three sides of the vineyards here. Film buffs take note … the hit movie, Sideways, was shot in the Rita Hills region.

The Brewer-Clifton winery produces only wines that are made from single vineyards that are each determined by the unique geography, geology and climatic conditions of each vineyard. We look forward to the time when we can visit the winery to sample the wines crafted from this interesting environment.

Tasting Notes:  A lovely pale gold color. A clean aroma, reminiscent of a Granny Smith apple. Floral and green field grass accents, including white clover, distinguish the nose of this wine. The flavor merges green apple with citrus fruits (lemon and lime). “Clean” and “crisp” also come to mind as descriptors of the taste. And a long, very pleasant finish lingers on the palate. The pairing of this wine with the bay scallops and corn dish is inspired. 

Other Wines That Pair Well with Scallops and Corn: Sauvignon Blanc (California), White Bordeaux (France), White Burgundy (France), Chenin Blanc (South Africa), Champagne (France)

Other Sea Food That Pairs Well with California Chardonnay:  Dungeness Crab, Lobster, Halibut, White Fish in a Cream Sauce, Salmon

Photos and Maps of the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Region:  Sta. Rita Hills AVA

A Source:  www.

Scallops with Sun-dried Tomatoes on Pasta … Paired Nicely with a New Hampshire Frontenac Gris

Pairing: Pan-Seared Scallops with Penne, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Garlic served with Fiddlehead Greens, Paired with a 2013 Walpole New Hampshire Mountain View Winery Frontenac Gris

Food: Jasper White is widely regarded as a leading authority on traditional and contemporary New England food (notably seafood). For our dish we used White’s recipe for Cape Scallops Sautéed with Garlic and Sun-dried Tomatoes, from Jasper White’s Cooking from New England., one of our most dog-eared volumes on our cook bookshelf. The major addition we made to the recipe was to toss the scallop mixture into cooked penne. And … the penne we used was made entirely from red lentil flour. Amazing!! Delicious!! And serving the scallops and penne with fresh fiddlehead greens was (modestly) inspiring. There just aren’t enough superlatives to describe this wonderful meal paired with a very nice local wine.

Wine: Frontenac is a cold weather tolerant wine grape, developed in 1978 at the University of Minnesota; a cross between Landot Noir and a wild grape variety found in Minnesota and also known for its cold tolerance. Frontenac Gris is a mutation of Frontenac. Frontenac Gris is considered to be the white version of Frontenac (a red wine), though its color is more accurately described as amber or peach. It is grown in many northern U.S. states, including Michigan, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and in some Canadian provinces, notably Quebec. Quebec is where another grape mutation was recently discovered, namely, Frontenac Blanc.

Tasting Notes:  The color of the Walpole Mountain View Frontenac Gris is decidedly amber. It possesses a lovely fragrance of honey (maybe Sourwood?) and toasted hazelnut. On the palate one can readily taste caramel, hazelnut, vanilla, and peach-apricot jam. The food and the wine make for a beautiful visual pairing. The flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes and the hazelnut element of the wine make for a terrific combination. And, the apricot flavor really shows up on the finish. A very nice pairing.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Scallops and Sun-dried Tomatoes: Chenin Blanc (South Africa), Sauvignon Blanc (California), Gruner Veltliner (Austria), Gewurstraminer (Alsace, France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Frontenac Gris:  Lobster Rolls, Chicken Salad, Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Leftover Turkey (Cold)

More About the New Hampshire Wineries: New Hampshire Wineries

A Source: liquor and wine outlets

Scallops and Linguine … Paired with a SB/ Semillon Blend from Western Australia

Pairing: Pan Seared Scallops on Linguine Paired with a 2018 Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon Blend (from Margaret River in Western Australia)

Food: We love scallops … cooked very, very simply. Pan searing them in a hot pan coated with barely a sheen of olive oil, for our money, is the only way to prepare them. We are quite content to just add a little seasoning, brown them for maybe two minutes on a side (Note: first halve the raw scallops along its equator, then pat dry). Take them out of the pan, keep them warm, deglaze the pan with a bit of the wine, add a touch of butter, pour over the scallops, and … voila … perfect scallops. For this dish, however, we’ve taken a few more steps. Cook up some linguine (whole wheat is best). Whip up a simple sauce made of milk, flour, grated Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Mix together the cooked linguine (that you first tossed around in the pan that you cooked the scallops in), the sauce that you heated and thickened a bit … and, of course, the scallops. Serve adding some more of the grated Romano and some peas. This is good stuff!! Once in a while it’s nice to gussy up the scallops like this. Even for a purist like me.

Of course our son will only eat scallops raw … that he plucked himself from the seafloor … fresh out of the bay. Now that’s a purist!!

Wine: The wines of the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia are perhaps best known for their European style. The Cape Mentelle wine showcased here could be the twin sister of a White Bordeaux wine in France with the same Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grape composition, and they also share similar terroir. We would be hard pressed to discern the differences between the two wines in a tasting. But there is a decidedly different price point; the Australian wine being much more economical.

Tasting Notes: A pretty pale gold color. The wine has a fresh clean bouquet with hints of honeydew melon and green apple. Light and crisp with flavors of green apple, ripe melon and grapefruit. This dry, crisp wine complements nicely the light, creamy sauce on the linguine and scallops.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Scallops and Linguine: Chablis (France), Meursault (Burgundy), Soave Classico (Italy), Chardonnay (Oregon)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon Blend: Roast Chicken, Grilled Fish (Halibut, Swordfish), Jambalaya

View the Margaret River Vineyards : Margaret River Wine Region

A Source:  www.

Birthday Scallops … with White Burgundy

Pairing:  Pan Seared Curried Scallops paired with 2011 Jacques Bavard Bourgogne

Food: One of my Dad’s “go-to” Friday night meals was scallops, usually bay scallops, broiled in butter. Last evening, in remembrance of Dad on the 108th anniversary of his birthday, we enjoyed scallops for our dinner. It was a simple preparation … dredging the halved sea scallops in our favorite curry powder, searing them briefly on each side in a hot skillet, deglazing the pan with some of the wine, then browning some butter in the same pan and drizzling the butter over the warm scallops. We tossed some cooked gemelli pasta in the pan to soak up all of the remaining butter sauce. Served it with garden-fresh green and yellow beans. Delicious! Here’s to you, Dad!

Pan Seared Scallops

Wine2011 Jacques Bavard Bourgogne. For those who may not know or remember, the white wine from the Burgundy region of France is made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape. Indeed there is a village in that region named Chardonnay. There are many towns in that area synominous with great white burgundy … Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet to name but a few. The higher end wines are named for the town the grapes come from, or, for really special wines (i.e., expensive) the wine may be named for a particular vineyard in that town. This winemaker, Jacques Bavard, selects grapes from several different villages in Burgundy, combining them to create his Bourgogne. Very nice and much more affordable.

Bourgogne Bavard

Tasting:  The delicate nose of this Bourgogne hints at white flowers, peach, and apricot. The white flower aroma perhaps is drawn out by the curry in the dish. On the palate, one gets white peach, melon and a background of tropical fruits, all with nicely balanced acidity. A note about drinking white wines … there is a tendency to chill white wine a bit too much. Serving them a little closer to 55 or 60 degrees F will bring out the complexity of flavors that are too often masked by colder temperatures.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Scallops:  Viognier, dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, New World Chardonnay, Soave

Other Foods That Pair Well with White Burgundy:  white Fish, Chicken, Lobster, Grilled Salmon, Oysters

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