Right before moving away from Boston a couple of weeks ago, I went out to lunch with one of my best friends there. Several nights before, she and I had struck up a conversation with a waiter from B&G Oysters while we were trying to spy on a cooking class in at Barbara Lynch's "Stir" that turned out not to be a cooking class but rather a bunch of staff eating cold, leftover pizza, which they offered to us. The waiter made us promise to come for lunch at B&G that week because it was restaurant week and they were serving a special fried clam sandwich. I don't love fried clam sandwiches in general (or fried oyster or shrimp sandwiches for that matter), or at least, I thought I didn't. Turns out I don't like soggy, heavily battered deep fried seafood, but the clam sandwich we had at the restaurant was amazingly crispy and flavorful with a lovely herby mayo.
I got a craving for another last week, but as it turns out, shellfish (unless you want zebra mussels) aren't quite as abundant in the Midwest as they are in New England (I know, big shock). But they had just gotten a shipment of Bay Scallops from Newfoundland at our grocery store and they were having a special, so I got a bunch of those and figured they might work sort of similarly to clams. Something about frying scallops made me feel sort of Italian (who knows...), so instead of plain old mayo, I made a quick salsa verde mayo, packed the scallops onto some toasty ciabatta, and added arugula and some slices of the last of the season's tomatoes. Insanely messy. These sandwiches don't want to stay together for anything. They're not company food, but they were crazy delicious.
On a side note, in general I haven't been super successful at making fried food. (I think it knows I'm scared of it.) But, one thing I have learned through a lot of screwing it up is, make sure your oil is hot enough! Hot, I tell you! —fiveandspice
Test Kitchen Notes
This was my first time frying scallops and boy were they addictive. In her version of a fried fish sandwich, fiveandspice has you coat scallops with two types of cornmeal, paprika and Aleppo pepper, and then quickly fry them in hot oil. The scallop’s exterior was crispy with a kick of warm heat, while the interior was moist and sweet. These sandwiches were delicious served with peppery arugula and a ripe, juicy tomato, but it was the easy-to-prepare, irresistible salsa verde mayo -- with summery flavors of parsley, capers, garlic and anchovies -- that made the sandwich really sing. One tip: refrain from flipping the scallops until the bottom surfaces completely brown or the delicate breading may stick to the pan. —cookinginvictoria
coarsely ground cornmeal
ground black pepper
crushed dried rosemary
big ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
ripe tomato, sliced
salsa verde mayo (see below)
Salsa verde mayo
Italian (flat leaf) parsley
large garlic clove, smashed and chopped
oil-packed anchovy fillet, chopped
brined or salted capers (rinsed, if salted)
In pie plate or other shallow dish, whisk together the cornmeals and all the seasonings.
In a medium, deep frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it's nice and hot (about 350°F). Toss the scallops in the cornmeal mixture to coat them well. Then, add half of them to the pan. Fry them, flipping after 1-2 minutes, until they are golden and crisped on each side. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon or spatula and put them on a paper towel lined plate. Fry the remaining scallops the same way. (You could also fry them in a deep fryer if you have one.)
Spread the mayo on both sides of the toasted ciabatta rolls. Fill the rolls with arugula, tomato slices, and scallops. Serve with plenty of napkins on the side.
Salsa verde mayo
In a small food processor (or with a mortar and pestle) process together the parsley, basil, and garlic until pretty finely chopped. Add in the anchovy and process a little more. Add the capers, the olive oil, and the lemon juice and pulse a few times. Finally, add in the mayo and process until everything is blended together. Add salt to taste. Scrape into a bowl and use for the scallop sandwiches as well as any variety of other sandwiches (it's darn good with porchetta).
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.