|That's me, Sarah, on the right!|
The love for making, sharing and consuming good food was instilled in me from an early age, and part of my childhood was spent living in close proximity to maternal extended family, who are all incredibly fond of food and see it as a way to bond and show their love. We spent countless days at our grandparents’ – my grandmother always saw to it that there were at the very least three different main dishes on the table and an abundance of rice; my grandfather marinated chicken and ribs for the grill while we collected ripe plums and crabapples from their backyard trees – and countless hours in restaurants, sometimes driving almost an hour outside the city just to visit a particular restaurant that my grandparents (and by extension, the rest of the family) favoured, where they laid dish after dish on the table(s), and carved our meat tableside while we watched with greedy eyes. Over mouthfuls of food we talked and laughed, and ate till we were stuffed, and there were always plenty of leftovers to take home.
To this day I favour entertaining as my grandparents did; long, leisurely family-style meals with plenty to spare.
My cooking style varies wildly with the situation, but I'm a big fan of variety on the table, so I often make things that can be served in small portions. These scallop "sandwiches" are a great two-bite party food - serve them secured with cocktail picks or peeking out of a parchment "wrap".
12 large (U/10 count) sea scallops (dry-packed is best to get a good sear)
8 strips of bacon
1 large avocado
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Cut each strip of bacon into thirds, crosswise. Fry in a skillet until done. Drain on a paper towel.
Remove the "muscle" from the scallops and pat them dry with a paper towel. Heat a pan with some of the rendered bacon fat, and sear the scallops on high heat. You'll want to cook them in small batches, so that they aren't touching each other, or they won't get a good sear. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side. It's okay if they are slightly undercooked in the middle when you remove them - as they rest, they'll finish cooking.
While the scallops cool slightly, remove the flesh from the avocado and pour the lemon juice on top. Mash it up with a fork.
When the scallops are cool enough to touch, slice them in half with a sharp knife. Place a spoonful of avocado, a sprinkling of chives, and two pieces of bacon on one half of the scallop, and then sandwich with the other half.