Gluten-free Elegance With Mostly Left-overs
Michael Sedano, The Gluten-free Chicano
This is an incredibly simple dish, naturally gluten-free, richly riquísimo, adaptable for gente avoiding complex carbohydrates by using quinoa. And elegant as all get-out. The sweetness of baked grapefruit, the bitterness of the peel, the bite of lime, the superb sabor of aromatic saffron, the gentle butter-enhanced scallop flavor, create a complex dining experience that can't be beat.
In the morning, start the scallops defrosting. In the evening, prepare the other ingredients and pile them atop the shellfish. Preheat the oven to 350º.
Its secret is top-notch ingredients. Citrus fresh from the backyard tree or farmer’s market, good saffron, yesterday’s steamed rice, and salami from that football-watching party. Layer the ingredients in a bowl and let the juices flow through. Invert onto the bed of rice, and bake.
10 scallops, 5 per person is an adequate serving.
½ unpeeled toronja, chopped.
½ unpeeled lime, paper-thin sliced. Seedless, Bearss limes, are ideal.
½ cup crushed tomatoes
2-3 cups left-over rice (or cooked quinoa)
2 pinches of saffron threads
4 chopped peppered salami slices (bologna size or ¼" off a chub sliced very thinly then diced.)
½ cube unsalted butter
Grease a shallow pie pan or casserole dish (non-stick spray or quality olive oil).
Line the bottom of the baking dish with left-over steamed rice or cooked quinoa.
Distribute six pats of butter across the rice.
Crush a pinch of saffron across the rice.
I use Costco individually frozen 30-40 in a bag scallops. I count out as many as I want to serve. Five a plate is enough.
As the scallops defrost they exude flavorful liquid that, along with the toronja juice and tomato liquid blends into a delicious flavor and moistens the left-over rice or quinoa as the dish bakes.
Place frozen scallops in a bowl, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, cover and refrigerate. You can use the scallops when they're icy-soft, half-defrosted. Do not drain. Do this in the morning and go about your day. In the afternoon, let them sit on the counter while you prepare the toronja and lime.
Prepare the citrus. I cut the lime and toronga from stem to blossom end then thinly slice watermelon style. The lime should be paper thin. The grapefruit about a ¼".
Add the lime atop the scallops, then cover with chopped toronja.
Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt on the toronja. This liberates more juice.
Cover the toronja with crushed tomatoes and sprinkle a few grains of sea salt.
Let the bowl sit, covered, for half an hour as the scallops finish defrosting and to let juices begin to filter down. Now's a good time set the table and check the oven temperature.
Upend the bowl onto the bed of rice and spread the mixture to cover the rice or quinoa. Dot the surface with three pats of butter.
Crush saffron across the surface.
Scatter the chopped salami and season with a light dusting of black pepper and paprika.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350º for 45 minutes or until scallops are translucent. If you started with still-frozen scallops extend the time to 60 minutes.
The rice absorbs the savory liquid, the citrus are soft, the scallops tender and moist. The buttery saffron flavor melds beautifully with the toronja and scallops, and the bite of lime and pepper salame accentuate themselves with every bite.
Bakes toronja and scallops makes a colorful dish that when finished looks great on the table straight from the oven, and gente can serve themselves. Use a hot pad and a tollala or glove.
Champagne would be an excellent beverage with this, but then, The Gluten-free Chicano consumes champagne as his adult beverage of choice, given the dearth of acceptable gluten-free birongas in the world.
Clean-up is a breeze. A bowl and a pie pan to wash, along with the usual tastes. You'll want to make this again and adjust for your oven and the doneness you like scallops, and vary it with cod or halibut, add chile slices, oranges or mandarinas to the baked citrus, endless possibilities.