Pan Seared Shrimp & Scallops Over Bacon-Corn-Chile Relish
Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL: http://thespicedlife.blogspot.com/2009/08/pan-seared-shrimp-scallops-over-bacon.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Laura Tabacca
2009 may be forever remembered as The Year I Got Over My Problem With Seafood.
Some of you who know me quite well may be wondering how on earth that happened? Well, Alex happened. She just so clearly loves seafood and I wanted to foster her love of ALL foods, so I started looking for ways to start cooking it. Then I found out I loved scallops (most of my experience with seafood is Gulf based, so I had never tried scallops growing up), which kind of sealed the deal since it meant that I knew there would be something for me to eat even if I was avoiding the shrimp.
It also happened because I started experiencing seafood in other cultures--and realized that just because boiled shrimp gives me the wiggins I still like it just fine in a Vietnamese summer roll. This was brought home to me most clearly when John and I were in Khao Sok National Park, in southern Thailand. We took a boat in to our campsite with a guide who spoke some English--and when we got to the site it was apparent it was mostly a retreat for other Thai people. Which meant no one else spoke English. It also meant they treated us as the guests of honor. So while John and I were trekking up a mountain, listening to monkeys scampering above our heads, the guy who drove the boat caught a fish for dinner. When we got back, as the honored guests, they gave us the fish head (cooked, of course, with some kind of dipping sauce). Keeping in mind that neither I nor John ate fish at this point, we pretty much just stared at it. We desperately did not want to be rude, but neither of us had the slightest idea of how to tackle it. Plus I had grown up with a parent who was paranoid about fish bones, just adding to my trepidation. And we were surrounded by people staring at us, chattering away in Thai, grinning...
The guide smiled at us in concern, probably used to squeamish Americans. We told him we were grateful but had never eaten a fish head, so if he could just advise us?... The answer involved pulling the flesh out from the cheeks--and dang if it was not one of the most amazing things we ate in Thailand. Succulent, rich, dripping with some amazing sauce (something on the sweet and sour side but I don't remember it very well now). We cleaned up that fish head pretty well.