Bay Scallops with Dashi, Chive Oil and Pineapple

Chang mentions that finding bay scallops in the shell “can be tough even for a restaurant with a reliable fishmonger on speed dial.” He also mentions that you can substitute scallops in the shell for already-shucked bay scallops, so I headed over to Whole Foods to see what they could do for me.

Luckily, my good friend Fish Boy was there to answer all my questions.

Me: Can I eat those scallops raw?
Fish Boy: These? Ha ha ha, no, you’ll DIE!
Me: What?! Really?
Fish Boy: You have to eat scallops within an hour of shucking, or you’ll DIE!
Me: Oh. So where can I find some in the shell?
Fish Boy: Granville Island or T&T, but I don’t know about T&T. I’ve heard weird things go down at T&T.
Me. Oh. Thanks.

I learned two things from my short conversation with Fish Boy: 1. he’s obsessed with things DYING and 2. he confirmed my fears about T&T seafood.

With Whole Foods and T&T out of the question, Mike came up with the brilliant idea to get scallops from Fujiya, a Japanese grocery store. We confirmed with the Japanese fishmonger that we could eat the scallops raw and we were good to go.

The scallops are prepared simply: thinly and neatly sliced, topped with traditional dashi, chive oil, pineapple brunoise and sea salt.

The chive oil was made by pureeing chives in oil and then straining, and the pineapple brunoise was simply a tiny dice.

The dish was subtle: sparkling, clean, and fresh. It was delicious, but I was expecting more.  As a appetite-whetter, it did the job, but something was missing.

Our friend Bruce was over at the time, and he, Mike, and I sat around trying to figure it out.

Me: So I was disappointed. It was missing something.
Mike: It was a little lacking in flavour.
Me: Yeah, it needed something.
Bruce: Like soy sauce and wasabi?
Me: It needed salt. Oh shit. There was supposed to be sea salt. Oops.

I think the salt could’ve made all the difference.

13 Comments add yours

  1. It is surprising how things taste a little flat without enough salt. They don’t taste quite like themselves.

    Did you blanch the chives first? I think if you keep the oil for a week, that might make a difference in the color.

    Andy,
    Salt is so important!
    I didn’t blanch the chives, but I thought the oil was surprisingly green, considering. The oil is still sitting in my fridge; I’ll have to check on the colour.

    steph on March 10th, 2010 at 10:16 am
  2. Admit it, that third picture was just added to show a nice shot of your ring!

    Thanks again for having me over, I’ll guinea pig your recipes anytime (that I’m in town).

    And yes, I used ‘guinea pig’ as a verb.

    Bruce,
    I didn’t even notice the ring!
    Can’t wait to have you guinea pig again sometime soon! (That sounded wrong…so wrong…)

    steph on March 10th, 2010 at 10:56 pm
  3. Beautiful ring ;-)

    I was interested in how this would turn out, with the acidity of pineapple alongside sweet raw scallop (raw scallop being one of my favourite things ever). Looks gorgeous in those glasses.

    Julia,
    Thanks! I love raw scallops too so I was pretty excited to try the dish; too bad I forgot salt!

    steph on March 10th, 2010 at 11:00 pm
  4. Really fresh raw scallops are a revelation, I made this last night with scallops that weren’t fresh shucked.
    The dish didn’t blow me away like I’d hoped, but it was a really interesting combination of flavors. I too forgot the salt (duh!!), I wonder if that would have elevated it to “wow”. I still have pineapple, dashi and chive oil, might have to try this again this weekend – with the salt!

    I think the salt’ll make a huge difference. If you do get a chance to make it, let me know what you think of the dish with the salt.

    steph on March 25th, 2010 at 3:46 pm
  5. I re-made it this weekend with the salt and the dish was markedly better. I did substitute kosher salt for sea, as I found the texture of the sea salt to be too coarse and subtracted from it overall.

    I thought the salt would add something; I’m still kicking myself for forgetting it. I should pick up some scallops soon. Glad to hear that you liked it better with salt!

    steph on March 29th, 2010 at 11:44 pm
  6. I see you are in the Vancouver area, and mention Toshis. Two thumbs up for Toshis!!!
    In another note, Keep your eye out for Qualicum Beach scallops, or look them up online. I think Finest at Sea on Arbutus sells them, and they are the most devine, wonderful and totally local scallops you can find. Also they are amazing raw! I marinate them in a bit of lime like a ceviche, or chopped with tobiko and mayo……..
    Love the blog

  7. I imagine this dish would work if the scallops were seared, right? I picked up some fresh scallops this morning from a farmer’s market, they look and smell pristine but I figured I’d be searing them anyway. I didn’t realize the dish called for raw scallops.

  8. What do you think about doing this dish with the bacon dashi? Did you chill the traditional dashi? I was thinking of pouring hot bacon dashi over the raw scallop as served. I live in bay scallop heaven (Nantucket) and literally wade out into the harbor when I want some, so freshness is not an issue. And the traditional way of serving them around here is with bacon. So, hmmm, thinking about the bacon dashi. Any thoughts?

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