Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Moroccan cuisine has an abundance of wonderful flavors including cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, paprika, anise, sesame, black pepper, allspice, caraway, cloves, coridander and many more. The combination of any of these ingredients are sure to make a delicious dish. Staples are usually chickpeas (hummus), pita and couscous, whereas main dishes are typically hearty stews made with lamb, chicken and vegetables. Although Moroccan's do eat fish, seafood such as scallops are not your typical Moroccan meal.
Scallops are a great combination with the wonderful Moroccan spices as they readily absorb these flavors. This particular recipe is taken from the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine (Spring 2007 issue). I have been wanting to make them for awhile, mainly because I thought the presentation looked pretty. When I tried this dish I knew immediately that it would be one of my top 10 meals to cook for company. Not only is the presentation nice, but the flavors of the scallops and the eggplant confit is amazing. The cayenne and ginger add a good amount of heat to the dish, and the lemon zest provides one of the most balancing compliments I've tasted in a dish. Each bit has a heat followed by that subtle lemon freshness. I served this dish over whole wheat couscous.
1 medium eggplant
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup chopped white onions
1 T chopped garlic
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 T lemon juice
2 T chopped chives
12 large scallops
2 T unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Cut strips of skin from eggplant to make a striped effect. Cut eggplant into ½-inch-thick slices. Brush with 2 T oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes turning once or until browned. Remove from heat and cool. Cut into ½-inch (1-cm) dice.
Combine ginger, paprika, cumin, cayenne and lemon rind. Heat remaining 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add half of spice mixture and cook another 30 seconds.
Add eggplant and tomatoes, stir together, reduce heat and cook slowly for 25 minutes or until mixture is very thick and tasty. Stir in lemon juice and chives and season with salt and pepper. Reheat when needed.
Sprinkle scallops with remaining spice mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Heat butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and sear about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Scallops should be opaque in the centre.
Boil 1 cup of water. When water comes to a boil, add 1 cup couscous and remove from heat and stir. Let sit for 5 min.
Spoon 1 scoop of couscous onto serving plate, then spoon eggplant mixture over couccous and then top with scallops.
Serves 4 (3 scallops per person).