Hay-Grilled Scallops with Currants and Mint

It’s popular these days to rag on Scandinavian cuisine. When Noma came roaring onto the scene, it inspired so many people that there were inevitably copycats that brought the concept of local, unconventional cooking down. But here’s my philosophy: I was cooking out of my great-grandma’s Danish recipe box before hay-grilling everything came along, and I’ll be cooking her recipes (modernized, of course) long after the foodie collective has moved onto the latest trend.

That’s because it’s fundamentally good food. Taste and sustainability is all that matters to me. I’ll eat at McDonalds if they make something tasty and sustainable (they don’t, but… if). It’s easy to let the trends dictate where your recipes will follow, especially if you want to write a food blog. I just want to cook and eat good food, and I don’t want to worry about being trendy. So, yes, this recipe uses hay. I’m sorry if that bothers you.

Hay is abundant where I live. I pulled over to the side of the road where a farmer had just cut down his field and grabbed a few hands full for this recipe. Then there’s the fact that smoking fish with hay adds a perfumed complexity to your food that you couldn’t get otherwise. It’s a fast way to add a smoked flavor without all the time involved with traditional smoking. So I say let your hay flag fly.

Now that I’m off my hay-munching high horse, here’s what you need to know about these scrumptious hay grilled scallops. They’d be fantastic on their own, but adding a currant dressing to the mix provides a citrusy zing that combines with the buttery flavor of the seafood on your tongue. It’s the type of dish I love because it combines disparate flavors to create something entirely unique.

Ingredients:

  • Hay
  • 12 Scallops
  • 1/2 cup currants or other tart berry
  • 2 or 3 mint (or basil – or both!) stalks
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 6 ounces olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Steps:

Marinate scallops in red pepper and half of the olive oil for about 30 minutes.

Place a layer of hay on a warm grill. Add scallops on top and then place another layer of hay over them. Light the hay on fire and let it burn out. Blow or wipe off the burned remnants. Grill the scallops for a few minutes on each side to create a golden crust. You can also finish them in a pan with butter if you prefer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix lemon zest, honey, olive oil, currants, chopped thyme, and chopped mint together. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour currant mix onto the scallops.

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