Scallops with ginger, lime buerre blanc sauce

When I saw this recipe, I knew I needed to make it, as soon as possible. And man, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a bit more expensive than the usual gourmet on a budget features I write about, but spending the extra money is worth it. I found scallops on sale (which happens fairly often) so I feel confident using that price, making it more affordable.

So this recipe fuses Asian flavors with French techniques: with the cilantro, lime, and ginger and a classic French sauce (that sounds oh so intimidating, but isn’t) – beurre blanc. A friend who isn’t terribly into cooking pretty much made the buerre blanc while I was searing the scallops, so yes, reader, you can do it too. There’s even some Italian in there with a gremolata.

Budget: $18, serves 4, $4.50 a person.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet meals. (more…)

Posto on 14th street

Posto on 14th street

I finally dined at Posto last night. After writing about it and hearing about it, I was happy to finally experience it for myself. And, well it met and beat my expectations.

The food: so good. I had the house cured olives (good, but it’s hard to make olives taste bad in my book) and the polenta with sausage to start. The polenta was very good, comforting, warm, a little spicy, perfect for a cold rainy night.

Main dishes were the scallops with a lentil ragout and the cinghiale (aka wild boar). The scallops were good, I didn’t instantly think lentils would work with scallops, but they did. It was another warming, comforting dish for winter. The cinghiale, the first I had ever had, was chewy (as to be expected after seeing a recent Iron Chef featuring the ingredient) but so flavorful, so good.

For dessert (because I was feeling decadent, hadn’t had a ton to eat all day, and had just scored my first job interview since losing my job) cranberry and mixed berry cobbler and poached pear with chocolate panna cotta. A nice finish to a great dinner, and I appreciate that the desserts offered weren’t the expected ones you often find at restaurants (usual suspects: flourless chocolate cake, apple pie, creme brulee, ice cream of some sort).

The service: attentive, friendly, nice, in two words: very good. The waiter was very enthusiastic, the hostess and manager were chatty and friendly as well.

The dining room was noisy. I even noticed that they’d put foam at the bottom of the tables to absorb some of the noise, but it wasn’t doing much good. It wasn’t terribly loud though, conversation wasn’t impossible. Though, it’s not a place you’d take a date for a quiet, romantic dinner.

In short, Posto surpassed my expectations for what I hoped it would be: a nice, tasty neighborhood option. I will definitely be returning on a regular basis. Plus: I learned it offers takeout, which will be an awesome alternative to some other options in the neighborhood.

After the jump: more photos. (more…)

As a break from the sad news I’ve been reporting about local violence, here’s an interesting post from Mighty Appetite about a geekery of scallops I bet you didn’t know existed. I love scallops, seared, with some great sauce; if I go to a restaurant and seared scallops are on the menu, 9 times out of 10 that’s what I’m ordering. I have, however, never cooked them, mostly because they’re a little too pricey for my tight budget.

Searing scallops, courtesy of Justin Marx (Flickr)

Searing scallops, courtesy of Justin Marx (Flickr)

Guest poster Julia Beizer gives us way more info on scallops, how to buy them, the different kinds, then I ever would have known. A lot of her info comes from BlackSalt fishmonger Scott Weinstein and if you’re a food geek like me, it’s worth the read.

Finally, three lovely-sounding recipes featuring scallops are prepared. The curry-dusted scallops with pea puree sound especially alluring. Man, next time I’m at the grocery store I might have to break my budget for that one indulgent splurge of scallops and try cooking them myself.