Bring the freshness of West Coast waters to the dinner table
With a love of the ocean and all that it provides comes a deep sense of responsibility when choosing what to eat and sourcing it. It’s no secret that our environment is in deep need of sustainable practices, and none of our delicate coastal ecosystems seems more in need of our attention than the waters that surround us.
For home cooks, this can seem like a daunting task, but it needn’t be. To find the freshest, best fished seafood, simply make friends with your fishmonger: find out how a fish was caught, where it’s from, how long it’s been frozen, etc.
Many methods of fishing raise concerns about large amounts of wasted bycatch (fish unintentionally caught in nets), and ocean-bottom environmental damage is a growing problem, but making good choices or asking a responsible fishmonger should alleviate your concerns and keep you feeling good about the food choices you’re making. The Ocean Wise website is a vast resource for those who want to look even further into sustainability and good fishing practices.
The salad base of this recipe is wonderful with myriad types of seafood. Try it with seared spot prawns or freshly cooked crabmeat; even a flaked salmon fillet is nice with it.
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups orzo
- 6 tbsp olive oil, divided
- Freshly grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 1 pound medium scallops, “foot” muscles removed
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and a pinch of sea salt; bring to a boil and add the orzo. Cook per package instructions. Drain and rinse with warm water. Transfer to large bowl and add 4 tbsp of the olive oil, the lemon zest and juice, and the black pepper. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the diced onion and stir to coat well with the butter. Fry the onions for 8 to 10 minutes—do not over-stir. The onions are done when they are deep golden in colour; add to the orzo.
- Pat the scallops dry and lightly season with sea salt. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, sear one side of the scallops for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully and repeat on the other side. The scallops should be a deep golden brown on both sides and slightly soft to the touch; they continue to cook for a few minutes once removed from the heat, so be sure not to overcook. Remove the scallops and add the white wine to the pan. Cook for 1 minute to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom. Pour the pan juices over the orzo and add the scallops, spinach, tomatoes, and tarragon. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
Recipe by DL Acken and Aurelia Louvet, from Off the Hook: The Essential West Coast Seafood Recipes, copyright © 2018 by DL Acken and Aurelia Louvet. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.