Monday, March 22, 2010

Rum Poached Scallops with a Roasted Pepper - Pineapple Pesto

There was one serious problem with this dish...  

I made these as appetizers, only two for each of us.  We wanted a dozen.

The inspiration for these came from One of my favorite bloggers, Penny from LAKE LURE COTTAGE!  Penny is an extraordinary cook.  Hardly a Penny come lately to the foodie fads that brought many of us to blogdom.  Penny has been cranking out top quality gourmet items for decades.  Some day when I grow up, I want to be half the cook she is. She did a column on AN ELEGANT APPETIZER.  Her Champagne Poached Scallops with Red Pepper Pesto sounded wonderful.  But, of course I did't have all the correct ingredients, so I doctored her recipe up just a bit...

First, no champagne.  While Jackie and I both have been known to occasionally have an adult beverage (on rare occasions), we are not fans of the bubbly.  Too sweet and honestly gives us a headache.  But I did have a little RUM (go take a look at my sister site, A Kansas Foodie in the Virgin Islands.  Today's post gives a very detailed explanation for why I am cooking with so much RUM!  I also had a fresh pineapple.  Pineapple adds such a wonderful flavor to almost anything.  Certainly a little pineapple in the pesto will make this more fun...

So, here's what I did to Penny's Elegant Appetizer...

I actually had a little left over bread that we had saved from eating out the night before.  Just the right size, a sweet baguette, ready to be sliced and toasted (with a little garlic infused EVOO).

To make the pesto, I roasted 1/2 a red pepper...

Roasting a pepper is easy, and adds an extra layer of sweetness to your pepper.  It draws out the natural sugars in the pepper and makes a normally bland pepper (the bell) a much more full of flavor ingredient.  It is easiest to grill them, but without a grill, I just used the stove top method in a dry skillet.  Just keep rotating and you get this look...

Put the hot pepper into a plastic ziplock bag and allow the pepper to cool.  The skin will peal easily, leaving just the meat of the pepper and none of the charred skin.

I had bought a fresh pineapple (one of my very favorite fruits).  I took an equal amount of pineapple to the pepper, added a couple cloves of garlic, and a small amount of fresh ginger.  Put all this into a mini chopper (one of the few items I brought from home), and bingo bango bongo... PRESTO, I had Pesto.

This pesto was really good.  I added a carefully measured 3/4 of a dollop to the toasted sliced baguette.

I had about half a cup left of the pesto, so I tested the "everything tastes good on a Ritz" theory and sure enough... This tasted great on a Ritz.

While all of this was going on, I also worked on the scallops... I chose 4 from my big bag of frozen sea scallops (20 pounds) I had bought a few weeks ago.

1/4 cup CRUZAN Pineapple Rum, the juice of half a lime
and my now famous Lime Zest Sea salt (2/3 rds zest to 1/3 rd salt)

I gently poached the scallops in the simmering rum.  About 6 minutes per side, until they are no longer translucent.  I removed the scallops, and turned up the heat on the rum/lime juice mix.  I reduced the sauce by more than half, and brushed that sauce on the top of the scallops...

Toasted baguette slices...

Topped by the pesto...

Topped by the scallops...

Topped by a sprinkling of grated Asiago cheese

Topped by a sprinkling of Lime Zest salt

Followed by listening to your wife bitch for HOURS because she only got two (they were only supposed to be appetizers).  These really were among the best things I have made since becoming island bound.  I could well imagine these with shrimp in place of the scallops, or how about toasting a little crab meat on the baguette, and then topping with the pesto.  this is a terrific combination and a perfect appetizer.



  1. Oh my Dave! You improved on my appetizer and I will definitely try it your way the next time. And you picture is gorgeous. I'm with Jackie; I would want MORE. Thanks for your kind words.

  2. Another great looking meal Dave.

  3. Roasted pepper pineapple pesto?!? Now that is something I can't wrap my head around. Sounds too delicious for words.

  4. I am just learning to like scallops. The pesto sounds terrific! Great combination of flavors!

  5. Scallops- any way you want them, is fine by me!

  6. Love roasted peppers and scallops - just never had them together! Nice recipe1

  7. Just the title made my mouth water and then those pictures ;) heaven! Thanks for posting!

  8. Weeelll. From the way this looks and sounds, I can't really blame your wife for getting all huffy at you for not making more ;) I looked at the recipe on Penny's site, and I have to say you did a wonderful job of taking great recipe and making it more island-y and tropical. I'm really intrigued by the flavors!

  9. Sounds delicious... were your ears ringing yesterday?... I was at the liquor store with my other half... and we were in the rum section... looking over all the flavors... and of course you came up in the conversation... so I have a question for you... which flavor is your favorite and why... and which flavor have you had the best results with cooking...
    I need a recommendation.. I can't taste test them all you know... well I could... but then I'd never write my blog...
    Let me know... thanks!

  10. that's a great idea to put scallops on toasted baguette slices! i'm sure this would be a winning appetizer at any party!

  11. You had me curious about poaching with rum. I was curious about what temp you had the poaching liquid was. In other words how close was the "cooking temp" to the "flash point" of rum, lol!

    Rum poached could go from rum flambeed in a second:)