When my friend Alexis and I worked together at the two Mas restaurants, we’d often find ourselves completely in the weeds, bogged down with too much prep and not enough time before service. When we worked the line together at Mas (La Grillade), we worked side by side and sometimes shared the task of making staff meal together. At times, we managed a cooperative effort of shared, constructive cooking. Other times, we were a little less mature than either of us likes to admit and family meal would devolve into arguments over really important things, like capers, chopped parsley and when to add pasta to sauce. Needless to say the pressures of cooking together in a NYC kitchen can take a toll on a good friendship. We found our groove after a while though.
One of our favorite last-minute dishes to make for staff meal was a citrus salad that consisted of grapefruit, oranges, fennel, cucumber, red onion, Alfonso olives, olive oil and salt and pepper. It was one of the few things we made together at Mas where we both fully agreed on ingredients and quantities. This scallop crudo was inspired by our family meal citrus salad. The sweet, delicate flavor of the scallop, the punchy citrus and sharp tinge of shallot, and slight crunch of anise are almost as harmonious as Alexis and my cooking relationship is today.
4 sea scallops, cleaned
1 lemon, zested – use a special curling zester to create long thin strips
1 grapefruit, zested and cut into segments (reserve any juice)
1 tangerine, cut into segments (reserve juice)
1 head of fennel, thinly sliced (reserve juice)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
Fennel fronds, for garnish
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
Fleur de sel
What to do:
- Using a curling zester, zest long strips of lemon and grapefruit peel into a small bowl.
- Heat equal parts water and sugar in a small pot on the stove to create a simple syrup. When sugar has dissolved, cook the lemon and grapefruit zest over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove zest from the simple syrup – you can save the syrup for future use, like in a cocktail.
- Thinly slice shallot. Thinly slice fennel, and make sure to remove any pieces of the tough core.
- Slice scallop into four thin rounds. Arrange on a small plate. Dress with olive oil and citrus juices. Sprinkle with sea salt. Then top with shallot, fennel, fronds, and the citrus segments. Serve immediately!
© 2012 Jonathan and Jessica Meter