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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the week: Grill-Seared Scallops and Grilled Pacific Snapper with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

Aug 24, 2012

These recipes celebrate the bounty of fresh seafood from Pacific waters available in BC right now.  Visit your favorite fishmonger today and grill some over the weekend!

Grill-Seared Scallops with Sea Asparagus

There’s not much that can beat the glorious flavour and meaty texture of scallops, except scallops that are seared on a hot grill. The key to great scallops is to let them speak for themselves, so this is a very simple recipe. I’ve added sea asparagus, which is a great complement if you can find it, but otherwise you can serve them straight up.

Serves two or three as an appetizer
Six jumbo Alaskan Weathervane or Digby sea scallops
            ¼ lb sea asparagus (optional)
            Kosher salt
            Olive oil
            2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
            fresh lemon wedges
            truffle oil (optional)
Preheat your grill for direct high cooking.

While your grill is preheating, bring some water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the sea asparagus and cook it for a minute or two. Remove the asparagus from the water and set it aside in a bowl.

Lightly salt the scallops, drizzle them with a little olive oil and take them out to the grill. Scrape the grill so the cooking grate is as smooth and clean as possible. Place the scallops on the grill. Cover the grill and cook them for about two minutes, turning them about every 30 seconds, until the scallops have nice char marks and are starting to feel firm to the touch.

Transfer the scallops from the grill to a plate and let them rest. While the scallops are resting, toss the sea asparagus with just a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Serve the scallops on a bed of sea asparagus and sprinkle some chopped parsley on top. A bit of juice will have come out of the sea scallops while they were resting, so be sure to drizzle that over everything. Garnish with a lemon wedge and, if you want to get fancy, finish the scallops with just a drop or two of truffle oil.

Grilled Pacific Snapper with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

Fresh Pacific snapper is a firm-fleshed fish that is great on the grill. In this recipe I’ve paired it with a delicious sauce made with fresh seasonal vegetables.  It goes well with some steamed rice and grilled asparagus.

Serves 4

4 6-oz. portions of boneless, skinless Pacific snapper fillets (you can substitute another firm-fleshed fish like halibut)

For the balsamic reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar

For the sauce
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. crushed chili flakes
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

For the rub
Kosher salt
Granulated onion
Dried basil
Extra virgin olive oil
For the garnish
            Freshly chopped parsley
            Lemon wedges

Pour the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, watching carefully, until the vinegar has reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume (about 10-15 minutes). It should be a thick syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Set it aside to cool. (You’ll have some left over, which is great for drizzling on pretty much anything.)

Preheat your grill for medium direct cooking.

While the grill is warming up, make the sauce:  Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic until they are translucent (about two or three minutes). Add the salt, chili flakes and chopped tomatoes and sauté the mixture for another couple of minutes, until the tomatoes are heated through. Add the chopped basil and give the sauce a stir. Adjust the seasonings to taste and set the sauce aside.

Sprinkle the snapper pieces with a light coating of salt, granulated onion and dried basil, and drizzle them with olive oil.

Scrape the cooking grate so it’s as smooth and clean as possible. Place the snapper on the cooking grate and cover the grill. Cook it for about three minutes and, with a large spatula, carefully turn the fish. Cook it for another three minutes or so, until the fish is firm to the touch. Carefully remove it from the grill and set it aside to rest for a minute or two.

Serve the fish on a bed of the sauce, surrounded by a drizzle of the balsamic reduction and topped with a sprinkle of the chopped parsley. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.