If you are cooking dinner for that special someone this weekend, here is a beautiful, simple and sophisticated dish that won’t keep you frantic in the kitchen.
These scallops are marinated in a sweet miso mixture that enhances the natural sweetness of the scallops as well as adding that elusive umami component. You know I love marinades that do double-duty. The scallops only marinade for 15 minutes and the marinade goes into a skillet with some shiitake mushrooms to glaze the udon noodles. I found these sexy black rice udon noodles to contrast the scallops at Whole Foods, but you could certainly use regular udon… Forbidden rice (black rice) would also be a great option as would white Jasime rice.
I know you thinking “but what the H is furikake?”. Furikake is a Japanese seasoning blend mad from toasted nori (that stuff they wrap sushi in), sesame seeds, bonito flakes (dried fish), and salt. It is incredibly easy to make and once you have tried it, you’l be sprinkling it on everything… amazing on popcorn, trust me. If any of those components weird you out too much, just leave it out, however, I encourage you to try it.
Believe it or not, scallops are incredibly easy to cook and perfectly suited for the grill. Here are a few tips that will take the intimidation factor out of grilling up this delicious sea-candy:
For grilling purposes, it’s best to buy fresh sea scallops instead of bay scallops which are smaller and more delicate. When shopping, you will most likely find wet-pack scallops which are treated to whiten them, but the process also increases their water content. There is nothing wrong with these scallops, but it will be hard to achieve a nice sear or grill marks. Dry-pack scallops are simply harvested and removed from their shells; because there is no added water, they tend to be meatier and achieve a better sear.
Whichever kind you buy, make sure the scallops are uniform in color and have smooth moist flesh; they shouldn’t be dry nor dripping wet. Don’t accept any that are torn or mangled – a possible sign of mishandling. Scallops should smell sweet like the sea and not at all fishy.
To clean scallops, simply run scallops under cold water and pull off any side-muscle with your thumb and forefinger. The side-muscle is a small rectangular tag and has a different texture. Not a problem if it’s not there, it often gets dislodged during harvesting.
- 4 ounces udon noodles
- 12 to 16 ounces sea scallops
- ¼ cup white (shiro) miso
- ¼ unseasoned rice vinegar
- ¼ cup mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Neutral oil for grilling
- 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 scallion - green part only, thinly sliced
- Furikake seasoning
- Cook udon noodles per package directions - this only takes about 5 minutes once the water is boiling. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water and set aside.
- Peel away the small rectangular muscle, if any, attached to the side of the scallops. Place in scallops in a shallow bowl. Whisk together the miso, rice vinegar, mirin and sugar until well combined. Pour over scallops and flip scallops to make sure they are coated; marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove from marinade and transfer marinade to a small skillet. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and rub tops and bottoms with a little oil to help prevent sticking.
- Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Brush and oil grate well when ready to start cooking.
- Add the sliced shiitake and a couple tablespoons of water to the marinade in the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes; keep warm.
- Place scallops on hot, oiled grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until scallop is almost/just opaque (watch the sides of the scallop for an indicator); do not overcook.
- To serve: Add udon noodle to the skillet with sauce and toss until warm and coated. Plate the noodles and add the scallops, sprinkle with sliced scallions and sprinkle with the furikake seasoning.
- 4 sheets nori
- ½ cup sesame seeds, toasted (I used half white and half black)
- 2 tablespoons bonito flakes, packed
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Toast the nori by holding it over a burner on the stove or in a hot, dry skillet. Crumble nori into a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, or blender; pulse until finely ground. Transfer into a bowl and then grind half of the sesame seeds. Add the ground and remaining whole sesame seed to the bowl. Next grind the bonito flakes and add to bowl. Stir in the salt and mix until well combined. Will hold in an air-tight container for a couple months
Cheers and Happy Grilling!