Great food makes for great bribery. With the promise of a fabulous feast, we invited ourselves over to good friends for the weekend. They have a gorgeous home overlooking the California coast. Hey, what are friends for? The star of the dinner - Grilled Scallops with Prosciutto.
Grilled Scallops with Prosciutto
We’ve known Dave and Amy for many years and have been privileged to stay at their beautiful home in Ventura, California on multiple occasions. Whenever we visit, we threaten to move in and not leave. Seriously. A custom-built house from your dreams. It's warm and comfortable with beautiful views of the blue Pacific coastline, subterranean wine cellar (oh puleeeeze), and of course, a fantastic gourmet kitchen with stone counters, a Sub-Zero fridge and a big Wolf range. What’s not to love?
The Joy of Cooking Together
Cooking by itself is so much fun, but cooking with friends, for friends, multiplies the fun. The plan for the weekend was to hit the farmers market for fresh ingredients, cook together, enjoy what we made, drink some wine, and soak in the fresh ocean air and views from the third floor deck of their home. Sounded like a perfect weekend to us.
When family and friends found out what we were up to, our quiet dinner for four quickly morphed into a party for nine. Ha! The more the merrier.
When planning a party menu, I start with the main course and build around it. For this dinner,we planned grilled scallops with Prosciutto because our hostess loved scallops. We picked up beautiful jumbo sized ones at the farmers market.
For an easy gourmet touch, we wrapped the scallops in paper thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma, skewered them, drizzled with olive oil, and grilled.
How to Make Scallop Skewers
For the Prosciutto, we used a brand called Citterio. We picked it up at Trader Joes. It’s widely available in the US (even Costco). Good quality at a good price.
Slice the Prosciutto in half lengthwise (or thirds if your scallops are smaller) and wrap each scallop with a piece, ends overlapping, then skewer. Double pronged 9″ bamboo skewers provide stability.
Dressed for Success
To dress the grilled scallops, we made a light and creamy mango-citrus sauce. It’s the same sauce I used for the lobster salad a few weeks ago. Combine fresh citrus juices, add chopped shallots, diced mango, oil, and a little honey then puree it all in a blender. Taste and season with salt and white pepper. I couldn’t wait until Amy tasted it. Loved her reaction! You’ve got to make it.
The Rest of the Menu
With the main course nailed, we picked up what looked best at the farmers market. Nice plump artichokes looked great and everyone loves them.
Steam trimmed artichokes in a big pot, cool, split in half top to bottom, remove the fuzzy choke, drizzle with oil and grill to finish.
With heirloom tomatoes at their summer peak, we added refreshing heirloom tomato gazpacho to the menu. A chilled soup bursting with fresh flavor, gazpacho is like eating a garden. Make a batch and eat it over the course of a week. You can save leftover vegetables in your Sub-Zero fridge to keep fresh for when you are ready to make your next batch of gazpacho.
A tip on gazpacho. Many people are not familiar with chilled soups. They might even tell you they don’t like them, even if they have never tried them. So make it and serve it in small cups, bowls or martini glasses, and watch people change their mind.
To round out the feast, we made a Mediterranean quinoa salad with fresh mint and dill plus feta, olives and veggies, and a tossed green salad for it’s crisp green contribution.
Save Room for Dessert
To complete the menu, a great dessert is mandatory. It’s what people eat last and remember most. To finish the feast, we made my favorite go-to dessert, a lemon almond polenta cake. It is always a hit and not a crumb was left.
One pan. An easy batter made in a food processor. Gluten-free. Reduced sugar. Dairy-free. Baked in a springform pan. Yes, it is the proverbial piece of cake, on several levels. The batter is so good, you’ll want to just eat the batter, which Dave proved.
Wolf’s dual convection oven with two fans and four heating elements produce more uniform heating than a single convection fan can deliver. Since the air is heated consistently throughout the oven cavity, there are no hot or cool spots, and this means greater consistency in your foods without ever rotating the pan. The cake came out perfect.
To serve the cake, we topped it with whipped coconut cream (I used an iSi Whipper, fun toy to have!) and fresh berries.
To do this, make sure your coconut cream is super cold and add a little sweetener (like honey or agave syrup) if desired.
That last minute rush to get all of the food on the table. We finally got to enjoy the fruit of our labors and celebrate a great weekend with friends over a fantastic dinner
No grill? No problem. Wrap the scallops and sear them in a non-stick pan.
- Bamboo or metal grilling skewers
- 1 ¼ pounds jumbo sea scallops about
- 4 ounces strips of Prosciutto 6 slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoons granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 9″ skewers see notes below
- Lay scallops out on a flat surface. If it is still attached, pinch off the “foot” (abductor), a tough little piece on one side and discard. Lay out strips of Prosciutto and slice them in half (or thirds) lengthwise. Wrap one strip of Prosciutto around each scallop and overlap the end. Place three wrapped scallops on each skewer.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over both sides of the scallops and sprinkle with salt, garlic and pepper. Use a little more if needed, but go easy on salt as Prosciutto is salty.
- Heat grill to hot, clean grates with a stiff brush and oil the grates. Place scallop skewers on the grill and close the lid. Cook about 2 minutes per side, until scallops are pearly white, opaque and a little firm when touched. Don’t overcook them to maintain tenderness. Prosciutto will be crisp at the edges. Serve with citrus sauce, a few tablespoons per person or a good extra virgin olive oil.