The sweet richness of scallops cries out for the tart fruitiness that umeboshi (pickled plums) deliver. It's good to marinate the scallops for a few hours in the marinade, but as little as thirty minutes will still give fantastic results. Don't try this with tiny bay scallops—they emit too much moisture. Use large, meaty, sashimi-grade scallops. The lentil topping crisps up beautifully. An earthy, full-bodied sake is a nice accompaniment, but a glass of very cold Champagne fits the bill quite nicely, too.
Rinse and dry the scallops and place in a bowl. Pat the pickled plums, olive oil, orange juice, and egg into a blender and puree. Pour the puree over the scallops and place in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the scallops from the bowl, wipe off most of the marinade from each one with your finger, and place on a clean cutting board. Salt and pepper them, then sprinkle on the lentil powder, pressing it in with your fingers to make sure it adheres evenly.
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat—get the fat very hot but not burning. Then add the scallops and cook until one side gets slightly browned and crisped, about 2 minutes. Turn them over, one by one, and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes. Transfer them to warm serving plates, top with the chives, and fleck in a few pieces of the reserved pickled plums.
This page created August 2007
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