The other evening my neighbor dropped by with a tupperware full of fresh Maine scallops that had been harvested by a friend of his. I thanked him and immediately started looking through my Japanese cookbooks. In Japan, scallops have been a very popular food, usually prepared in soups, sashimi, or sushi. The Japanese were the first people to start farming scallops in the 1930s. Today, along with China, they produce 90% of the worlds farmed scallops.
When I was a little kid we lived on an oyster farm in Alaska, so looking at the pictures of Japanese scallop farming gave me a warm feeling in my heart. I remember someone gave me a scallop shell at that age and I was fascinated by the beautiful symmetry, so different from the craggy oysters I was used to. The funny thing is, even though I am the youngest, and was still pretty little when we moved to the east coast, I am the only one in the family who pronounces scallops like they do on the west coast. Of course, I also call water fountains "bubblers", which according to the internet means I grew up in Wisconsin.
Here in Maine we have our own tradition of scallop cuisine and the recipe I decided on was easy and quick and closer to the traditional New England techniques. Harumi Kurihara, a chef who has been described as the Martha Stewart of Japan, provided the dish in her book Everyday Harumi. More or less it involves marinating the scallops in banno sauce (made from soy, mirin, and konbu), lightly cooking them in a skillet, then sandwiching each scallop between two squares of nori.
It was delicious and so easy. The tender juicy meat of the scallop and the salty tang of the sauce were perfect. I think this would make a great appetizer to any dinner, especially if you have some seafood loving guests over. Perhaps for the holidays?
Until next time, enjoy your scallops!
P.S. What no video? Yeah, it would have been too short, this recipe doesn't take long.
P.P.S. Moving on from scallops, I'd just like to give you an update about my blog schedule. I took far more time off after Thanksgiving than I had originally anticipated. This wasn't because I was whooping it up, rather, I was whooping it down. Too cryptic? I had a cold. However, I am almost back to my normal self and have written out a schedule for cooking and posts that I intend to follow to the letter. Prepare yourself for recipes that would make an excellent addition to your holidays, plus Nippon Day posts about Christmas and Japan's biggest holiday, New Years! I hope you're looking forward to it. I certainly am.