Produce report: September 4
The recreational scallop season has just started for those of us in the North of the country (it finishes on March 31) and is, understandably, great news for the families of divers. For the rest of us, the commercial season is already well underway.
When buying, look for plump scallops with firm flesh, without any discolouration. They should smell briny but not sharp. Overcooking will turn them rubbery so sear quickly in a little butter or oil and remove as soon as the translucent flesh turns white.
Scallops are delicious sitting on a puree of parsnip or celeriac (which is nearing the end of its season) and they are positively divine on a creamy bed of cauliflower which, fortunately, is a good buy now. For a special (albeit rich) puree for those tasty bivalves, combine that cauli with milk and cream as Riverstone Kitchen’s Bevan Smith does below.
Remove outer leaves and roughly chop 1 small cauliflower into small pieces. Place cauliflower in a medium-sized pot with one litre of milk. Cover with a cartouche (a baking paper lid that sits directly on top of food or liquid to prevent it drying out or forming a skin) and bring to a simmer over a gentle heat. Cook until tender, drain and reserve milk. Place cauliflower in a food processor and blend until smooth. Place 300ml cream in a small pot and bring to the boil. Add to cauliflower and pulse to combine. Adjust consistency of the cooking liquor if required. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
See Bevan’s full recipe for seared salmon with cauliflower puree and salad of shaved fennel, currants and pinenuts here.
On the next fine weekend, get outside and barbecue those scallops and add them to Warren Elwin's tacos.
Scallops also pair very well with grapefruit (plentiful in supermarkets or on a tree near you). Their sharpness is a good foil to the seafood’s richness. See recipe for seared scallops with chilli, grapefruit and pomegranate.
For those keen to eat scallops to their heart’s content, a visit to the Whitianga Scallop Festival on September 16 might be the answer. See the website for more.
Look out for glasshouse-grown capsicums. Although available all year round, capsicums are most plentiful from January until April.
Leafy vegetables are becoming much more plentiful as the weather warms. Satsuma mandarins have finished their run but large Richard Special mandarins will be in Farro stores soon. Tangelos will be with us later this month.