By Chef John Ash
This easy first course depends on getting the best, freshest, and largest scallops possible. Specify to your fishmonger that you want dry pack or diver scallops. Dry-packed scallops are scallops that are shucked, packed up, and shipped on ice without chemical additives. Wet packed scallops are soaked in water and sodium tripolyphosphate, meaning the scallop becomes bloated with water and chemical additives, not good! There are several good online sources if you don’t have a good local source. Delicious as a first course with the 2022 Russian River Ranches Chardonnay.
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced thinly crosswise Flaky sea salt
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2-pound large sea scallops, side muscle removed and discarded
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon capers, drained
A few small basil leaves
1 small lime, halved
An ounce or two salmon caviar
Fruity virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Put sliced shallots in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add vinegar and mix gently, keeping shallots submerged. Leave at room temperature for at least 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. The remaining vinegar may be reserved for another use, such as salad dressing.
With a sharp knife, slice each scallop crosswise in half slices. Distribute slices among chilled plates, laying them flat in a circular pattern. Sprinkle scallops with salt, a little red pepper, a few capers, some pickled shallot and salmon caviar.
Garnish with torn or sliced basil leaves. Give each plate a squeeze of lime juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.