Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spicy Cioppino & Frozen Scallops

So this was dinner last night - Spicy Cioppino, which apparently is a San Franciscan-Italian thing. You can make it with whatever fish you want, but they suggested tilapia and scallops. It was... interesting (see Thoughts for more details).

Frozen scallops - who knew they were controversial? Was trying to find out how to thaw them, and discovered that apparently a guy got chucked off Top Chef last year for using them. Oh well, this is really the opposite of Top Chef here. (Bottom Chef? Um, actually, let's not go there...) So I'm not worrying about it.

What I did worry about was giving us food poisoning by thawing them incorrectly. Anyhoo, chowhound and others suggested putting them in a plastic bag under cold running water for approx. 15 mins. Then you don't rinse them, just pat them dry. Apparently if you rinse them all the flavor goes down the drain too. So that's what I did, with no ill effects so far.

The Recipe: Spicy Cioppino
From Eating Well.


We didn't have any hot paprika, just the regular kind, so followed a suggestion from the interwebs and used some red pepper flakes too. Now, the slightly annoying thing is that the recipe says to add the paprika "to taste," but you have to put it in before it's physically possible to taste it. Hmm.

Anyway, it turned out super paprika-y. And since both tilapia and scallops have gentle flavors, I felt this was a bit of a problem. But maybe I did something wrong. Haven't cooked with paprika before, in fact didn't think of it as having much of a flavor, so didn't know what to expect. Suggestions gratefully received.

But it was perfectly edible, we ate it with some nice bread to soak up the juices. And I did manage not to overcook the scallops.


Thawing the scallops:

Sauce simmering:

It did look nice in the evening sun: