Last night I got the opportunity to cook perhaps a once in a lifetime meal. The deal was I was given: Prawns, Scallops, Scampi Tails, & NY Strip Loins as the main ingredients. It was up to me to come up the dish itself.
I felt good about the scallops, prawns, and the NY strip loins as I had cooked all of those things before. However, I was feeling a little nervous about the scampi tails. I had never eaten them before, let alone cooked them.
I quickly hit the books, I needed to do some research. For the prawns, my first instinct was to do a chorizo sausage and prawn skewers, with a paprika glaze. The only problem is this is a dish best done on a grill and the weather didn’t look like it was going to cooperate. So I needed to come up with something different. I had to go to my backup plan, Cajun creole prawns.
Next up were the scallops and that one was easy, wrap them in bacon, saute in butter, and dress them with maple syrup.
For the next dish, I wanted to lighten things up, cleanse the palate so to speak. I originally thought of a roasted beet salad, but instead went with a pear, blue cheese, and walnut salad with lightly dressed arugula. Up to this point, we had been drinking cocktails, so we decided that since we were going with a lighter dish we should go with a lighter beverage.
I paired the salad with a Penfolds 2014 Koonunga Chardonnay which complimented the salad perfectly. The peach and citrus notes helped to mellow out the blue cheese and highlighted the sweetness in the pear.
Up to this point, I had felt pretty good about what I had prepared. The first three dishes had all turned out great, but now my biggest challenge was in front of me. Everything I had read kept talking about how delicate scampi was and how easy it was to overcook. I chose to cook the scampi in butter and white wine. It turned out amazing.
By now we had been at it for 6 hours and it was time for the main course. Like the scallops, there was no question on how I was going to prepare the NY strip. I seared them in butter, garlic, and thyme in a hot pan and then finished them in the oven. Then served them with roasted cherry tomatoes, green beans, and a couple of dollops of compound butter.
The steak had such bold flavours we needed something equally bold to drink, so we paired it with a Cono Sur 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. The black pepper notes in the wine really matched up nicely with the seasoning on the steak. The full body and tannins in the wine also helped to cut through the richness of the compound butter.
In our initial discussion, there hadn’t been any mention of dessert but really what’s a meal without dessert? I went with one of my tried and trues, caramelized pineapple. Normally this is also a dish best done on the bbq. Since the weather was being uncooperative I decided to flambe the pineapple on the stove stop instead.
When it was all said and done, dinner was 6 courses and had lasted for 9 hours. At one point, in the evening one of my dining companions made the comment that a dinner like this needed to be done over a long period of time.
In fact it reminded her of the anecdote about how to boil a frog? You can’t place a frog directly in boiling water, it will jump out. You have to place it in room temperature water and slowly raise the temperature until the water is boiling.
Same thing with a dinner like this. You can’t put out all the dishes at once, it would overwhelm the diner. Hence the name of this post, how to boil a frog?
To my dining companions, I must express thanks for allowing me the opportunity to prepare such an epic meal. I will never forget that evening.
Cajun Creole Prawns:
- 1lb of shrimp
- 3-4 Tbsp of Butter
- 2-3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1/3 cup of beer
- 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp of creole seasoning
- 4-5 Tbsp of Hot sauce
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
- In a frying pan over medium-high heat saute the garlic in 2 tbsp of butter for 1-2 min.
- Add in the beer, the Worcestershire sauce, creole seasoning, salt and pepper, and hot sauce. Let simmer for 3-4 min.
- Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 min or until the shrimp is pink throughout.
- Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and stir until melted.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with lemon slices and pieces of bread to soak up the sauce.
Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- 1 lbs of scallops
- 7-8 slices of bacon
- 2 Tbsp of butter
- 2 Tbsp of maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp of chopped parsley
- Pat the scallops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
- Cut each slice bacon into 2/3 lengths.
- Place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate and microwave for 60 seconds to precook the bacon.
- Wrap a slice of bacon around each scallop, securing with a toothpick.
- Preheat a heavy bottomed pan over medium hight heat. Add in the butter.
- Once the butter has melted add in the bacon wrapped scallops.
- Cook for 4-5 min or until the bacon starts to become crispy.
- Place the scallops on a plate and drizzle the maple syrup over top.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.
Pear, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Salad
- 1 bunch of Arugula
- 1 pear cut in slices
- 2 Tbsp of chopped walnuts
- 2-3 Tbsp of crumbled blue cheese
- 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
- 1 Tsp of olive oil
- Dress the arugula with the olive oil and lemon juice.
- Place a handful of arugula on salad place.
- Arrange several slices of pear on top of the arugula.
- Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the pear.
- Add several blue crumbled on top of the walnuts.
Scampi in White Wine and Butter
- 10-12 Scampi tails
- 3-4 Tbsp of butter
- 1 shallot diced
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp of chopped tarragon
- 1 Tbsp of chopped chives
- 2 Tbsp of lemon juice.
- Preheat a saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the wine and shallots and cook for 4-5 min or until the wine is reduced by half.
- Add the 2 Tbsp of butter and the garlic.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Add the tarragon.
- Cook for 2-3 min until the butter had melted.
- Add the Scampi tails and let simmer for 2-3 min.
- Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.
- Place the scampi tails on a place and pour the remaining sauce over top.
- Garnish with chopped chives and serve.
Pan Seared NY Strip Loin
- 3 8oz NY Strip Loin
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil
- 3 Tbsp of steak seasoning
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 bunch of fresh rosemary
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme
- 3-4 Tbsp of butter
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch of green beans
- 1 Tbsp of crumbled blue cheese
- Herb & Garlic compound butter
- 1 Tbsp of chopped parsley
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
- Add the green beans and blanch the green beans for 2-3 min.
- Remove the green beans and place into an ice water bath.
- Smear the olive oil over each side of the steak.
- Rub each side of the steak with steak seasoning.
- Preheat a frying pan (preferably a cast iron pan) over medium-high heat.
- Add the butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Saute for 1-2 min.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan.
- Add the steak. Tip the frying pan towards you and baste the steak with the melted butter. If the pan begins to dry out add more butter.
- Preheat second frying pan over medium heat.
- Sear the steak for 2-3 min. Flip over and sear the other side for 1-2 min.
- Place the frying pan into the oven and cook for 3-4 min or until your desired doneness and the tomatoes begin to split.
- Once the steak is in the oven, add 1 Tbsp of butter to second frying pan.
- Once the butter has melted, add the green beans and saute for 2-3 min.
- Add the crumbled blue cheese and continuing saute until the blue cheese melts.
- Remove the steaks from the oven.
- Place steak on a plate and add 2 slices of the compound butter. Plate tomatoes and green beans and garnish with chopped parsley.
Herb and Garlic Compound Butter
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp of chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp of chopped thyme
- 1 Tbsp of chopped oregano
- 1 garlic clove
- Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely mixed.
- Place butter mixture into the center of a piece of plastic wrap.
- Wrap tightly into the shape of a log.
- Place in the fridge to set, cut off slices as needed.
- 1 pineapple cored and cut into slices
- 1 cup of rum
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp of cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp of maple syrup.
- 2 Tbsp of butter.
- Mix the rum, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup together. Whisk until cinnamon and brown sugar has dissolved.
- Add in the pineapple slices and marinate for 24 hours.
- Preheat a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Preheat a small saucepan over medium-hight heat.
- Add the butter to the frying pan.
- Add the pineapple slices and saute until they start to brown.
- Add the remaining marinade to the saucepan and bring to a boil and continue cooking.
- Once the pineapple slices are finished place 1-2 slices on a plate. Spoon the reduced marinade over top.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.