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Seafood-inspired dishes abound during Lent

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Scallops with Sweet Potatoes and Onion Marmalade

12 tbsp. unsalted butter1 large yellow onion, cut into

1/4 ” pieces

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh orange juice, plus the zest of 1 orange

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

2 tbsp. honey

1 sprig thyme

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1

1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. large scallops (about 10–12)

1 tsp Creole seasoning

Juice from one lemon

Melt 4 tbsp. butter in a 12” skillet over medium heat. Add the onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 18-20 minutes. Add sugar, juice, vinegar, honey, thyme, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring, until thick, about 25 minutes; discard thyme and set marmalade aside.

Bring potatoes and 5 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, 18-20 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a an electric mixer with 6 tbsp. butter, cream, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Purée until smooth; transfer to a bowl and keep warm.

Heat remaining butter plus olive oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with lemon juice, Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper. Do not use too much Creole seasoning or the flavor will be too overpowering. Cook scallops, flipping once, until golden and cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Place scallops on plate. Top with sweet potato and onion marmalade.

Adapted from Scallops with Sweet Potato Purée and Onion Marmalade, Saveur, April 2013.

Updated: April 6, 2014 6:17AM



It’s hard to find a flaw in the dietary guidelines of the Lenten season. Meat-free Fridays aren’t a sacrifice, but rather, a treat.

Out comes the fried catfish, the lobster bisque, and the salmon patties. Friday night fish fries headline the weekend and call for a reason for the family to get together.

If anything, Lent is a time to prepare the best-tasting seafood recipes you can find, which is a pretty sinful loophole in the rigid regulations that call for self-temperance and forbearance. Unless you’re not a seafood lover, the next forty days and forty nights will be comprised of researching flavorful fish dishes that thwart the mundane and turn Lent into a culinary season.

Scallops are just one of these ingredients that herald the exciting barrage of seafood-inspired recipes. However, it takes a lot of ingenuity to make these meaty mollusks interesting enough to headline the Lenten schedule. This recipe weaves together three strong flavors--sweet potato, onion puree and scallop--but not combatively. Somehow, this odd trio of flavors works in a surprisingly delicious way.

Good quality scallops are key, so fresh ones from the fishmonger might be the route to take. If using frozen, be sure they are large enough to adorn with dollops of whipped sweet potatoes and onion puree.

Oddly enough, the scallop serves only as the base of this tasty, rustic finger food. The starring flavor here is the onion puree. Sweet with the essences of honey and time, it resembles more of a onion marmalade and one-ups the sweet factor of the whipped potato.

The scallop does not go unnoticed, though. If it were missing, this layered trio would fall apart — and not because it doesn’t have a solid foundation. Any other meaty infrastructure — chicken, pork or beef, for example — just couldn’t marry into the myriad of flavor the way the scallop does, making it the ideal appetizer or finger food for a Lenten supper.

Does it make you blasphemous if you enjoy the fish meals you eat during a period of abstinence? Maybe. But it’s hard to get those who carry on hundreds of years of cultural Lenten food traditions to suddenly repent. There’s no use quitting now.



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