Twenty or more years ago, my mother and I were watching someone cook on a local PBS show. The cook made a composed scallop dish that caught my attention. Over the years, I made a few adjustments - adding grits and bacon, roasting the vegetables and grilling the scallops. This is one of my favorite dishes to serve for an elegant dinner party. - MrsWheelbarrow —MrsWheelbarrow
Test Kitchen Notes
This Mexican twist on a southern classic (Shrimp and Grits) doesn't disappoint. A quick read through the ingredients, and you know it's going to be good. Sweet scallops over creamy grits, with jalapenos to keep things kicky. And what can go wrong with bacon and cilantro in the mix? I would recommend roasting the jalapenos with the vegetables, to help blend the flavors. Also, a quick pat of flour on the scallops will help create a light, crispy sear. This dish could definitely be the star of a dinner party, or a fancy brunch with mimosas on the side. - CatherineJagers —The Editors
excellent, stone ground grits
Compose the Dinner
slices smoked bacon, cut in 1" pieces
ripe tomatillas, husked and quartered, then halved
Warm the milk and water to just below the boil. Add the salt, then stream in the grits, stirring all the while.
Continue stirring for about 20 minutes, until the grits have absorbed the liquid and have plumped up. Stir in the butter. Set aside, covered, to stay warm.
Compose the Dinner
Preheat the oven to 400° In a cast iron pan, render the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain.
Pour off some but not all of the bacon fat. Toss the tomatillas, morels and corn in the bacon fat and slip the pan in the oven. Set the timer for 12-15 minutes. It will be all saucy.
Heat a grill pan until very hot. Brush with oil. Dry the scallops, dust with salt and pepper, then place on the grill. Do not crowd. Turn the scallops a quarter turn after 2 minutes (to make pretty grill marks), then flip over one minutes later. Cook for two minutes, then turn a quarter turn and finish cooking (about another minute.)
Assemble: Pool the grits on the bottom of the plate. Sprinkle with crispy bacon, roasted vegetables. Top with three scallops, a spoonful of salsa, crema, a sprinkle of cilantro and jalapeno.