Shrimps and Scallops

Several weeks ago, I got a craving for a lobster roll. Lobster being a little rich for my bank account, I cooked up a dinner party that would feature rolls stuffed with shrimp and scallop in lieu of lobster. Much credit goes to my friend Celia, who made a kick-ass aioli that we used to dress our fruits de mer.

Seafood Roll (1)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs. shrinp, cleaned and peeled

1 lb. scallops

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

Celia’s aioli

6 rolls (I used Portugese rolls)

chopped parsley for garnish

PREPARATION

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat, add half the garlic, sautée for 30 seconds, then add shrimp and cook until bright pink. Set shrimp aside in a large bowl.

Add remaining oil and garlic to the skillet and sauté the scallops until barely firm. Just a couple minutes, turning once.

I used sea scallops, so I quartered them. Bay scallops would probably be the right size whole. Toss scallops with the shrimp, then mix in the aioli—I didn’t measure, just use your best judgment.

‘BUT HOW DO I MAKE THE AIOLI?’ You must be asking. Celia was kind enough to share her recipe with us…

Let me first say that I have a long-standing aversion to mayonnaise, perhaps related to youthful summers spent in England consuming Marks & Spencer’s pre-fab sandwiches. Their isosceles bread-triangles inevitably emerge from the package soggy with white goop, which completely overwhelms the few wilted cucumbers suspended within. Luckily, this aioli is a completely different beast – fresh, garlicky, delicious.

To get started, pound one or two cloves of garlic together with some salt in a mortar and pestle. Separate two large, extremely fresh organic eggs, and put the yolks into a medium mixing bowl. Add the garlic paste, and give the mixture a quick turn with your whisk.

You will now begin to create your yolk-and-olive-oil emulsion. Slowly add the olive oil to the bowl while whisking continuously. Clearly, it’s best if you have a designated dribbler to assist you. But if you are alone, not to worry: you can alternate a small splash of oil with a burst of whisking energy. The mixture should begin to thicken immediately and lighten in color. Once you know the emulsion is off to a good start, you can let the oil flow more freely. The more oil you add, the thicker the mixture will become. I usually use about a cup, which yields a lovely, golden-yellow wobbly mass, perfect for spreading or dipping.

Finish off your aioli with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper to taste, and a handful of chopped herbs if you like. Enjoy!

So, there you have it.

I also spread a little aioli on the rolls and put them under the broiler to toast them golden brown before filling with the seafood and topping with a little fresh parsley. As you can see in the photo, I served it with lettuce, avocado and tomato (dressed with a Dijon vinaigrette). A tomato from the salad landed in my roll. A happy accident.

We ate this dinner as a picnic on my roof, watching the subway roll by the Manhattan skyline, but it would be just as good at the beach or in the park. Just don’t forget the rosé!

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