Scallops seared in bacon fat deliver when the classic hors d’oeuvre falls short.
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By Sam Sifton
Good morning. Bacon-wrapped scallops are, a trip to Boston reminded me recently, far better in theory than in practice. You see them lined up on platters at Faneuil Hall, passed around at glittery parties in Cambridge, on menus at luxe restaurants and raucous sports bars alike. The flavors marry exquisitely, but it’s almost impossible for anyone to finish cooking both ingredients at the same time, so the result is too often crisp-gummy, unpalatable, grim. Order them at your peril.
But do eat bacon and scallops! They’re swamp-Yankee surf and turf, a taste of New England wherever you stay. I love scallops scalded in bacon fat, as with Eric Kim’s marvelous recipe for seared scallops with glazed brussels sprouts (above), and I love them served raw atop crisp bacon, as in Mark Bittman’s recipe, not to mention when they’re mixed into the seafood chowder that Julia Moskin learned to make in the kitchen at Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine.
Don’t eat bacon? Try buttery scallops with lemon and herbs. Don’t eat shellfish? Glazed bacon for you. Don’t eat either? You could spread this miso-peanut butter concoction onto just about anything and experience a different kind of umami joy.
To spread the circle wider, I know I want to make Anna Francese Gass’s new recipe for penne al baffo, a kind of penne alla vodka with ham that’s deeply savory and filling. And I’d love to celebrate the season with Hana Asbrink’s recipe for crème fraîche pasta with peas and scallions, or Melissa Clark’s recipe for creamy bucatini with spring onions and mint.
This could be a great day to make the hamburger they serve at Zuni Café in San Francisco, or better yet to start to make the hamburger — the process is worth the two days spent. After salting the meat and putting it to cure in the fridge, make a quick linguine with lemon sauce for dinner. Or do neither and make a skillet chicken with black beans, rice and chiles instead.
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Now, it has nothing at all to do with scallops or bacon, but Don Winslow’s latest, “City on Fire,” is both a crackerjack gangster story and a love letter to Rhode Island. Which is to say: Worth reading.
Closer to the kitchen, you’ll enjoy our Brett Anderson’s accounting of a trip to Tennessee, where he foraged for ramps with Allan Benton, the king of country hams.
The second season of “Russian Doll” has arrived! Enter the time machine, please.
Finally, the people in my house play Harry Styles’s “As It Was” roughly three times a day. There are worse outcomes for families. Join us! I’ll be back on Friday.
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