The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 06.13.05


You say scallops, I say scawllops

A trip Down East once taught me that you will be immediately identified as a visitor should you use an incorrect drawl when ordering this shellfish delight. You have to bone up on the local lingo when traveling.

In the Land of Beef, I order my steak in Alberta correctly and do not ask for boof (boeuf) as we sometimes pronounce it here at home.

Nor do I make any Mad Cow jokes or prompt any politically incorrect East versus West chowder discussion. What would landlubber oil barons know about chowder anyway?

Albertans do know a thing or two about hoofed creatures and serve up lots of boof and will even pair it with ocean delights on occasion for travelers such as myself. Where they get scallops and shrimp for surf and turf is anyone's guess, as I'm pretty sure they are hard to find up in the grazing pasture.

Mind you, dry-land scallops could possibly exist. I've seen the badlands of Alberta and been to a dinosaur museum or two. If there ever was a place beyond Galapagos that strange creatures may have evolved it could be in Head -Smashed -In -Buffalo- Jump. (Real name - real town in Alberta or is that Saskatchewan)?

Now that I have proved my general lack of geographical memory I'll leave you with a recipe for scallops that will delight. You can pair the recipe with a steak if you wish, but I guarantee that the beef I ate recently in Alberta was somehow better.

I'll let you know how they do scallops soon.

Serves 4

Use either bay or larger sea scallops for this simple pan fry. Bay scallops are very small, only 1/2 inch in diameter or so. They are sweet and succulent, and they offset the spice of Dijon mustard and dry wine.

Just cook the scallops until they're barely opaque to keep them tender. If you prefer to use large sea scallops, cook them for an additional minute. Serve the scallops over linguine or couscous. The pan juices make a delicate sauce flavored with the reduced wine essence and sharp mustard taste.

1-pound linguine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced red pepper
1 cup thinly slivered red onion
1 clove garlic, minced (1/2 teaspoon)
3/4 pound bay scallops
1/2-cup white or rose wine, or 1/3-cup sweet vermouth
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine.

While the linguine is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper, red onion, and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft, for about 2 minutes. Add the scallops and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to reduce the liquid in the pan and concentrate the flavor. Stir in the mustard and parsley, and heat through.

Be careful not to overcook the scallops. Serve over the drained linguine.