Visualize Whirled Peas

My sister posted about the dog of our childhood, Max.  It was a great beginning to a recipe for orange chicken which, while tasting amazing, looked like dog vomit.  I recommend both the post and the recipe.

Many previous posts have attested to my collection of Nigella Lawson cookbooks.  Thanks to she-of-the-dog-vomit-story, I own Nigella Kitchen, as of this Christmas past.  Because she coincides her Food Network program with the release of her cookbooks, on Sunday mornings I am seduced by her warm, soft, sensual approach to the recipes in the tome.

Last week I watched while she performed that most British of icky dishes, Mooshy Peas, but with a twist.  She added a bit of Thai Curry paste and voila, it was transformed from a platter of green goo to a puddle of fragrant Phuket vacation in a nose hit.  Her menu included scallops, neatly browned and caramelized in a skillet with some butter.  Heaven in a puffy white pillow!

I had the scallops, I had the Thai Curry paste (all three colors), but was at a loss to find any “little green dirt balls,” as my pea-hating brother in law calls them.

No problem.  I’ll substitute, and with that I present

Scallops with Thai-scented Corn Puree

Adapted from Nigella Kitchen

  • 1 lb (3 1/2 cups) frozen petits pois or peas, cooked until tender, then drained
  • 1-2 T Thai green curry paste
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp peanut or other flavorless oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 6 big scallops or 10-12 small bay scallops
  • juice 1 lime
  • 1-2 T chopped fresh cilantro or Thai basil

Place the peas in a blender, adding 1 T curry paste and the creme fraiche or sour cream.  Season to taste with salt and perhaps more curry paste, depending on how strong it is.

Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan until foamy, then fry the scallops for about 2 minutes per side.  If you are using big scallops, then it is sometimes easier to cut them in half across.  When they are cooked, they will have just lost their raw look in the middle and be lusciously tender, while golden and almost caramelized on the outside.

Lift the scallops onto 2 warmed plates and then de-glaze the hot pan by squeezing in the lime juice.  Stir to mix well and pick up every scrap of flavor, then pour this over the scallops on each plate.

Dish up the pea puree alongside the scallops, and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or Thai basil.  Serve with another wedge of lime, if you feel like it.

And my changes?  Anywhere it says peas, substitute corn.  Anywhere it says green Thai chili paste, substitute yellow thai chili paste.

It was delicious and looked like something the cats would hork up on the rug.  Do try the recipe.  No, I didn’t take a picture, but I will post Nigella’s once I have permission from her publisher.


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