The following post is the full copy of our column from the February 6, 2013 edition of The Forum. Our column appears in the SheSays section every Wednesday, and you can also access past columns right here on the blog.
It’s February, which means the Season of Love is about to begin. Every year around this time Tony and I sit down to plan our Valentine’s Day menu for Sarello’s, and we love to include as many aphrodisiac foods as possible, just to help out those couples seeking some added romance with their loved ones.
Our menu changes often throughout the year, and on special occasions we create a new menu just for that evening. We love the opportunity this presents to be creative by featuring dishes that are not normally in our repertoire. However, we have learned over the past twelve years that there are just some dishes too beloved to ever leave off our menu (lest a mutiny ensue). This week’s Thai-inspired Red Curry Scallops are right at the top of that list.
Before continuing, I must disclose that I am highly allergic to all shellfish, so I have never actually tried this specialty. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy it. In addition to being one of the prettiest food presentations I have ever seen, I love the briny, fragrant aroma of the scallops and the curry blending together. In fact, it looks and smells so good that sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind a visit to the emergency room just to give it a try. But what does it taste like?
To answer this question, we sent an email to all of our customers, asking them to provide a brief description of what they love about our Red Curry Scallops. The response was great, and we are grateful to everyone who shared their thoughts with us. While many of the comments included a reference to the texture and “doneness” of the scallops, it became clear that the red curry sauce is the star of this dish. Here are just a few of the comments we received:
“The sauce is richly flavored, with a nice texture. It is a bold dish with the complex flavors of seafood, onions and curry, all in a velvety sauce. A chilled glass of Riesling is perfect with it.” - Sam Wai, Moorhead.
“I’ve learned there’s a difference between spicy and complex. While this dish certainly has kick and a little heat, the complexity of flavors blending together make it like no other.” - Bernie Erickson, Fargo.
“That special delicate heat and spice that compliment the firm, tender scallop. The combination is quintessential. Marvelous flavors like love are difficult to define.” – Ted and Linda Kleiman, Fargo.
“We find them both toothsome and piquant.” – Eddie Schmoll, Fargo.
“The scallops are delicious, not gritty, pleasantly spiced and perfectly cooked. But the sauce, OMG it is perfect. It is full flavored with a subtle blend of hot, salty and sweet.” – Carol Menzies, Fargo.
One of the best surprises among the comments came from Tom and Becky Ihringer of Fargo, who had previously requested a copy of this recipe after enjoying the dish at Sarello’s. “I cooked the Red Curry Scallops for the first time yesterday…The colors and texture of the carrots and mushrooms with the basil were the real surprise.”
Tony loves the versatility of this dish, which can be altered to accommodate many different tastes. Shrimp or chicken are nice substitutes for scallops, but you can also create a delicious vegetarian dish by adding more vegetables to the sauce and serving it over rice. You can even make a gluten-free version by omitting the roux from the sauce and letting it reduce longer to thicken. The spicy heat, which is a medium-heat in this recipe, can be controlled by adjusting the amount of curry paste. And all of the ingredients can be easily found in our local grocery stores.
So play with this recipe and alter it as you desire. And be sure to have some good bread on hand, because Tony says that the best part of this dish is mopping up the sauce at the end.