Finally! Nearly two years since first starting this journey, I have reached my beloved homeland, the United States of America. But what to cook to represent this vast country? I thought about cheese burgers, chocolate shakes and apple pie, but that felt too, dare I say, American? Since the United States is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world, it's impossible to capture all of the culinary traditions Americans eat today with one meal or dish.
|Map Courtesy of Lonely Planet|
As luck would have it, a little searching led me to the Wampanoag Tribe website, complete with recipes from their cookbook. I chose an amazing scallop dish because it uses local New England ingredients - plus, who in her right mind passes up an opportunity to eat scallops? To compliment these sea-jewels, I found locally-grown sunflower greens and a super-micro mix (seriously, the tiniest greens I've EVER seen), of watercress, mizuna, red giant mustard and crimson mustard. So, while this meal represents only a fraction of the culinary traditions in America, it's a place to start that both honors and celebrates the United States of America, it's first inhabitants and the many immigrants who followed.
|Map Courtesy o f Lonely Planet|
One of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, the U.S. landscape includes the coastal planes of the Atlantic Seaboard, the forests of the Pacific west, mountains, lakes, rivers and the deserts of the Midwest and western states and active volcanoes in Alaska and Hawaii. Rich in animal and plant life, the U.S. agricultural landscape produces corn, wheat, soybeans, sorghum, rice, hay and virtually every kind of fruit, berry and vegetable imaginable. As you can imagine, it's difficult to pin-point any one culinary influence, since aside from regional cooking, America is home to thousands different ethnic groups, each with their own influences and traditions.
Cider, a Granny Smith apple, sage and butter for the sauce
Lovely sea scallops
Seared Scallops with Cider Brown Butter (Adapted from Wampanoag Tribe Cookbook)
1 cup apple cider
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound sea scallops, patted dry with paper towels (see note)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and julienned
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
16 small fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large skillet, bring the cider to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 6 to 8 minutes, or until reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
In another large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Season the scallops with the salt and pepper. Cook the scallops until lightly browned on the outside and opaque throughout, about 2 minutes on each side (do not overcook). Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Brown the butter over medium heat, being careful not to burn. Stir in the reduced cider, half of the julienned apple, the sage, and lemon juice. Simmer until the apple is tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, put the scallops on a bed of wild rice or field greens on a plate, and spoon on the sauce. Garnish with the remaining julienned apple.
Yield: 4 servings
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