Ciao Italia Family Classics
Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.
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Super-fresh scallops are best for this dish. The very large ones, the so-called diver scallops are ideal, but if they are unavailable, buy an equivalent amount of the largest scallops you can find, and serve more slices per person. I cure the scallops in a coarse salt; any gray salt, fleur de sel, or kosher salt will work well.
I love guacamole and often serve it with aperitifs to friends. (Double this recipe and serve it on its own with spicy tortilla chips, if you like.) The combination of scallops and guacamole is very delicate, but sprinkling spicy chips on top gives the dish texture and an appealingly piquant taste.
Some people embed an avocado pit in their guacamole to prevent the mixture from darkening. The best method I've found is to press a piece of plastic Wrap on top, so it adheres to the guacamole. The avocados must be ripe; if you buy hard, unripe ones, keep them at room temperature for a few days until they are soft to the touch before using.
4 very large sea scallops (diver scallops; 7 to 8 ounces total)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup whole, unpeeled, tomato, in 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons minced poblano chili pepper (or another chili pepper of your choice)
3 tablespoons finely minced scallion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco green pepper sauce (or more, if you like)
About 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
About 12 spicy tortilla chips
For the Seviche:
Cut each of the scallops crosswise into 6 slices, each 1/2-inch thick. You should have about 24 slices. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon salt and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the bottom of a shallow baking dish or on a platter, and arrange the slices of scallop on top in a single layer. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper. Cover lightly with plastic wrap applied directly to the surface of the scallops, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but as long as overnight.
For the Guacamole:
Cut around each avocado, penetrating the skin and flesh, then twist to separate the avocados into halves. Remove the pit from each, and using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a glass bowl large enough to easily hold the remaining ingredients. Crush coarsely with a fork. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups of crushed avocado.)
Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, applying it directly to the surface of the guacamole. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
At serving time, arrange 6 scallop slices around the circumference of each dinner plate, and spoon about 1/2 cup of guacamole in the center, Sprinkle the scallops on each plate with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and crumble a few tortilla chips on top of the guacamole. Serve immediately.
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