Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Old-World, New World Scallops

Thanks for sharing in my asparagus cake April Fool's joke-- you can see my joke post here. Yes, I really did make an asparagus cake, with asparagus frosting, and yes, I did really eat a whole piece. :) I checked with 5-Star Foodie first to make sure she wouldn't be offended if I created an outlandish joke cake using the joust ingredients, and she was a great sport to play along!

This is my actual Royal Foodie Joust entry for April, no fooling! This month's Royal Foodie Joust, presided over as always by The Leftover Queen has been big fun!

Again, the magic ingredients are almonds, asparagus, and lemongrass.

Somehow the idea of pairing corn and asparagus came into my mind, and I decided it would be a blast to play with a combination of Old World-New World foods to create my entry. It combines Colombian arepas, which are a savory corn pancake (and my serious entry, no joke!), with Caribbean-inspired scallops, and a Catalan romesco sauce (with a twist).

Here is my original recipe for

Corn, Cheese, and Asparagus Arepas with Almond-Crusted Scallops
Mango-Lemongrass "Romesco" Sauce

by DomesticMuse


For the scallops:

8 large scallops
1/4 c. flour
1 T smoked paprika
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 c. ground blanched almonds
1/2 c. panko-style breadcrumbs
1 T chopped sorrel or lemon verbena
2 c. fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
3 T unsalted butter (plus more if needed)

For the Romesco Sauce:
1/3 c. blanched almonds
2 garlic cloves (I had one huge one, so that's what I used)
1 slice home-made style white bread, crusts removed
1 stalk chopped fresh lemongrass
1 large red bell pepper
1 large ripe mango
2 1/2 T white wine vinegar
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. ancho chile powder
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste

For the Arepas: (makes about 10)
1 c. yellow masa harina
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 c. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook)
3 T melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. boiling water (plus more as needed)
1 c. frozen baby white corn kernels
blanched asparagus tips plus enough tender blanched stems to make 1 c.
unsalted butter for frying

To prepare the scallops:

Mix the flour and the smoked paprika in a bowl. Break the eggs into another bowl and salt and pepper generously. In a 3rd bowl mix the ground almonds, chopped sorrel and panko. Dip the scallops first in the flour, then the egg, and then the nut mixture. Press firmly into the nuts. Place each breaded scallop on a rack set on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet with the scallops in the fridge and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

To prepare the "Romesco" Sauce:

Split the red pepper in half, seed and stem. Place the pepper halves on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast under the broiler until blackened and blistered in spots. Remove the peppers from the baking sheet and place in a ziptop bag, and seal. Allow to cool inside the bag for at least 10 minutes. Remove the peppers and peel. Set aside.
Place the blanched almonds, garlic, chopped lemongrass, and bread, torn into pieces, into the food processor. Process until finely ground. Add the red pepper, 1/2 of the mango, the white wine vinegar, the olive oil, the smoked paprika, the ancho chile powder, and salt and powder to taste. Puree in food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed; add the other mango half if the sauce needs more sweetness and a thinner texture.

To prepare the Arepas:
Mix the masa harina, cheese, melted butter, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add enough boiling water to make a thick batter. Add the corn kernels and aparagus pieces to the bowl and fold gently into the batter. Add more water as necessary to make a workable batter.
Heat a griddle over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray, then add 1-2 T unsalted butter.
Spray the palms of your hands with nonstick spray. Form 1/4 c. portions of the batter into patties. Fry on the griddle in the butter, about 3 minutes per side. Place the arepas on a plate and keep warm.

To Finish the Scallops:
Remove the scallops from the fridge and place on bamboo skewers (that have been soaked in water for at least 30 min.) along with the pineapple chunks.
Add fresh butter to the griddle and cook the skewers over medium heat, about 5-6 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Press the scallops down onto the griddle with a spatula so they brown evenly.

To serve:
Place 3-4 arepas on a plate. Place a scallop-pineapple skewer on top of the arepas and drizzle with the Mango-Lemongrass "Romesco" sauce.

DC's plate.... before:

And after!


  1. Wow! Those scallops look delicious!! I can't wait to try out that recipe.

  2. This is a fabulous Joust entry! Excellent use of ingredients and this recipe has my personal favorite ingredients - scallops and mango! The mango-lemongrass sauce sounds really amazing! I love the fusion of different cuisines in this recipe!

  3. I've never even tasted a scallop before, but this makes me want to give it a try. I LOVE the before and after plates.

  4. I have been wanting to make arepas ever since I saw Bobby Flay 'throwing down' with them. This is a fabulous dish! How did the asparagus cake taste for real? Did your son and hubby like?

  5. Reenie--

    Thanks so much. It really was delicious, I was amazed by how good the Romesco sauce turned out, we couldn't stop eating it! :) I love arepas and have been cooking them for about 20 years now. I first had them when our Venezuelan neighbor cooked them for us. That meal was also the first time I had ever had fried plantains, prepared by our neighbor's Peruvian wife!

    As to the cake, the cake part was actually really quite tasty, there was no asparagus flavor at all. But the frosting-- weird. Not bad, not good, just weird. DC and DS refused to touch it, which was a shame because the cake part was so good if you ate around the frosting, LOL! I did eat a whole piece, frosting and all. Loved the 5-spice powder, almonds, ginger and lemongrass in the cake.
    :) K

  6. I cannot imagine anything much more enticing than those scallops! Wow, even though the April Fools joke was about Asparagus cakes (ala: Arepas), these look heavenly with the Panko crust. Nice work. Really has so many elements which make an instant fave of mine. I will snag this recipe to make it in my home asap! So glad I found your blog.

  7. Love the sauce Karen, the whole darned meal looks just blissful!I want to come to your home so you can cook for me.. NC isnt that far away from NJ you know, maybe 10 hours?

  8. This looks fantastic -- I love the scallops!!

  9. This turned out great, Karen! It sounds so good...great use of the chosen ingredients...yum!

  10. heck of an entry, karen! i envy your creativity (and anyone who got to partake of this meal!). :)

  11. With each photo, we kept getting hungrier and hungrier until we couldn't take it any longer and had to make your yum-crusted scallops our Post of the Day at Stop by and see what other kinds of old-school/new-school flavor combinations folks are coming up with.
    Jake Ten Pas
    Tillamook Cheese Fan Club

  12. I love arepas and haven't made them in so long!! This looks wonderful, best of luck with the joust!

  13. Hi Karen,
    Cara vez que te visito me das hambre!
    Great recipe!
    LLegate por mi blog a recoger un merecido premio.

  14. Mmmm...looks lovely. And your April Fools is hilarious!


  15. Wow! I just bought myself a cookbook entirely dedicated to scallops as they are a local product and speciality, but there is nothing like this in there! These scallops look amazing and the whole dish looks fabulous! Yummy!

  16. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM!!! YUM!!!.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,



Go ahead! Make my day! I LOVE comments!

I try to respond to every comment. I usually answer comments Right Here, so check back. If you are new to DomesticMuse, Welcome, and I will be by to visit your blog soon!

Chi miigwetch SCL: thank you to my son for creating this logo
CLICK to enlarge image