Weathervane scallops are a West Coast scallop variety that we love to feature on the menu whenever we find them. Indigenous to Alaskan and Canadian waters, the Weathervane scallop harvest is only a fraction of the size of the East Coast scallop production. We encourage you to make the effort to seek out this sweet nutty-tasting shellfish.
This dish celebrates the pure scallop flavor that is unique to the seafood world. The citrus overtones enhance the delicate scallop taste and will round out an accompanying wine, making it seem more mature. We know the caviar in this recipe is an extravagance, but its salty character adds a sophisticated balance to the sweetness of the shellfish and the creaminess of the crème fraîche. Only a small amount is needed so you can indulge here and use the rest at a special Sunday brunch.
Note: East Coast wild Atlantic scallops may be substituted. However, many of the Atlantic wild scallops are dredged, which is a habitat-damaging method. Additionally, poor management has caused overfishing and species depletion. If you choose Atlantic scallops we recommend either diver, hand-harvested sea scallops; net-farmed Atlantic sea scallops from Newfoundland; or bay scallops from Nova Scotia because they are grown on suspended racks and cause less harm to the environment than dredged scallops. No matter which you choose, make sure the scallops are either in their shell or “dry packed,” not treated or soaked with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP). The freshness of the shellfish is the most important part of this recipe.
Beverage pairing: Choose a wine to highlight the citrus flavor in the appetizer. The citrus in the marinade brings out the pure flavors in the wine and rounds out the fattiness of the shellfish. Caviar can enhance the mineral taste of the wine, but the dill and cream will balance the flavor. The final note of the slightly bitter raw chard brings the entire dish together. Choose a Sauvignon Blanc from a region like the Columbia Valley in Washington State or Marlborough in New Zealand that exhibits citrus elements, or go all out and splurge on a blanc de blanc Champagne. Do you think Champagne and caviar might work together? Recommended: 2001 Chateau Ste. Michelle, Horse Heaven Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington; or 1998 Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand; or NV, Agrapart & Fils, Blanc de Blanc Brut, Avize, France.
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