The range hood has been installed, so our new kitchen is finally (mostly) functional! I feel like we’ve been at 95% complete for ages now. Still missing some electrical finish work, but we can now cook full meals. Creg and I had a great time making dinner yesterday. The space worked really well, we didn’t get in each other’s way, and the food was fantastic! The only problem we had was finding where we had put things… took us 5 minutes to find a whisk. We cooked and plated with plenty of room to lay things out, then took the plates upstairs to eat with the rents, as they weren’t up to coming down the stairs. We need to install a dumbwaiter! For our first meal, we made scallops (and halibut for the rents) with a fava bean puree and corn fritters.
Favas will still be around for a few weeks, but making the most of them now while they’re still young and tender. I’m always happy to find corn at the farmers market so early in the year. You’d think after leaving Illinois 40 years ago I’d stop saying “knee high by the 4th of July”. The California climate lets us have this delicious treat in June. I was looking for new things to do with the beautiful corn I got this weekend at the market and settled on corn fritters. I got the recipe from Jacques Pepin, one of my go-to chefs. It’s a simple tempura batter, and can really be made with any veggies. Worked out great! It’s always a challenge making meals with enough veggies in this household since we have some picky eaters. Finding things that everyone likes makes me happy! I had been wanting to make scallops since they go so well with corn and with favas, but the rents don’t like them, so we also made some simple sautéed halibut filets for them. Other than that, the two plates were the same. I suppose it really is a little like running a small restaurant!
I prepped the fava beans and the corn while the hood was being installed. I had planned to make a dessert too, but ran out of time, so that will be on the menu tonight. Need to keep working on my timing! Once things are prepped, this menu does come together fairly quickly, as long as you know where to find your utensils. We began with the fritters, then once those were going we started the scallops and halibut. I also reserved some of the favas and did a quick sauté in a little butter.
- 8 scallops (for two people)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
Pat scallops dry and remove the tough muscle on the side, if it’s still attached. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter has stopped foaming and skillet is very hot, add scallops in one layer. Cook without moving till they are golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side.
Fava Bean Purée
- 3 lbs fava beans
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- zest from 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- small pat of butter
Shell the fava beans, then blanch in a pot of boiling water until they are soft, about 7 minutes. Drain and cool in a bowl of ice water.
The favas should be cool enough to handle in about a minute. Pop them out of their skins and add all but a handfull to the bowl of a food processor with cream and broth. Pulse until they are puréed. Add the lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add a small pat of butter. Add reserved handful of favas, season with salt and pepper, and sauté lightly.
Spoon the puree into a glass bowl and heat in the microwave just before serving. Top with reserved sautéed favas.
Corn Fritters (from Jacques Pepin):
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup beer (I ended up adding a little more to get the right consistency)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 ears sweet corn, husked and kernels cut off (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
Put the flour, half the beer, and the salt in a bowl and mix with a whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the beer and mix. It should be thick, like sour cream. Add the corn kernels and mix well.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. When it is hot, use a 1/4-cup measuring cup (I used a large spoon) to make 4 fritters. Cook for about 4 minutes, then flip over with a spatula and cook for 4 minutes on the other side, or until cooked through.
Transfer the fritters to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining oil and fritter batter.