Traditionally, seafood prepared as “escabeche” is marinated in an acidic mixture that “cooks” the seafood. For this dish, the scallops are quickly seared, then cut into thin slices and marinated. The procedure adds the flavor of the browned and caramelized outer layer to the dish. The scallops are served with a hearts of palm slaw spiked with habanero chilies, and a ring of brightly colored hibiscus oil.
- Hearts of Palm - 1 cup, sliced fresh or canned
- Green Papaya - 1-1⁄2 cups peeled, seeded, and julienned
- Scotch bonnet (habanero) chilies - 2, seeded and minced
- Scallions - 4, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- Cilantro Leaves - 1⁄4 cup
- Fresh Tangerine Juice - 1⁄2 cup
- Lime Juice - 3 tablespoons
- Rice Vinegar - 3 tablespoons
- Peanut Oil - 1⁄2 cup, cold pressed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh Tangerine Juice - 3⁄4 cup
- Fresh lime juice - 1⁄4 cup
- Rice Vinegar - 1⁄4 cup
- Kosher salt - 2 teaspoons
- Scotch bonnet (habanero) chile - 1, seeded and minced
- Black pepper
- Fresh scallops - 16
- Grapeseed Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hibiscus Oil
- Jamaica (hibiscus) flower petals - 1⁄4 cup, dried
- Scallop Marinade - Reserved
- Grapeseed Oil - 1⁄2 cup
- Fried Plantain Strips
- Plantain - 1, very ripe
- Canola or other vegetable oil - 1 cup
- Tangerines - 2, peeled, sectioned into segments, white pith removed
- Fresh cilantro sprigs - 4
- Crushed pink peppercorns
To make the slaw: In a non-reactive bowl combine the hearts of palm, papaya, Scotch bonnet, green onions, and cilantro leaves. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl combine the juices and vinegar, then slowly whisk in the peanut oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour this vinaigrette over the slaw, toss well to combine, and refrigerate 1 hour.
To prepare the marinade: In a medium shallow bowl combine the juices, vinegar, salt, chile, and fresh ground pepper.
To make the scallops: Place a dry large heavy steel or iron skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Add the grapeseed oil and heat to nearly smoking. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and place in the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan; cook the scallops in 2 batches if necessary. Sear the scallops on one side for about 2 minutes, then turn them with tongs and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Remove the scallops from the pan and allow to cool.
Slice each scallop horizontally into 5 slices. Add the scallop slices to the marinade and chill 20 minutes in the refrigerator. With a slotted spoon remove the scallops from the marinade and reserve all of the marinade for later use.
To make the hibiscus oil: In a medium non-reactive saucepan combine the hibiscus and reserved marinade and reduce over medium-high heat until reduced to 1⁄4 cup. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes. Pour into a small mixing bowl and slowly, in a steady stream, whisk in the grapeseed oil. Set aside at room temperature.
To fry the plantain: Cut the plantain crosswise into 21⁄2-inch pieces. Make a lengthwise cut in each and peel off the skin by sliding your thumbnail under the slit to pry off the skin. (Alternately you may run the plantain under running water to wash away the milky liquid that sometimes seeps from the skin. If you do, pat the plantain sections dry with paper towels before proceeding.) In a large heavy frying pan over high heat bring 1⁄2 inch of oil to 350 F. Add more oil if necessary. Add the plantain slices and fry about 1 minute per side until they have formed a skin and turned golden brown. With a long-handled strainer remove the plantains to paper toweling to drain.
To assemble: Place a 3-inch round ring mold in the center of one of the four serving plates. With a slotted spoon, place one-fourth of the slaw into the mold and pack loosely. For the next layer, arrange 8 to 10 tangerine segments on top of the slaw. Follow with 5 slices of scallop arranged in a pinwheel pattern. Remove the ring mold and spoon the hibiscus oil around the plate and garnish with fried plantain strips, a sprig of cilantro, and crushed pink peppercorns.