STEAMED SCALLOPS WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE
The Shun Lee Cookbook by Michael Tong
While scallops are plentiful in China, cooks there prefer dried scallops rather than fresh ones. I blended the flavors of Cantonese cooking with the sweet taste of fresh scallops to create this sophisticated dish. you must use fresh scallops of the highest quality for this dish, never thawed frozen ones that have been soaked in preservatives. Look for very large day-boat or diver scallops at the best fishmongers.
Makes 2 to 4 servings
• 5 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed: 2 left whole, 3 minced
• Four 1/8-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger, plus 1/2 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
• 4 fresh day-boat or diver scallops
• 4 scallop shells for cooking (coquilles St. Jacques shells, available at kitchenware shops) or small ramekins
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 1½ teaspoons minced Chinese fermented black beans
• 1 tablespoon seeded and minced red or green fresh hot chilies, such as Thai or serrano
• 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
• 1½ tablespoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1/4 cup Chicken Stock or canned chicken broth
1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a wok over high heat. Add the whole scallions, ginger slices, and scallops. Cook just until the edges of the scallops begin to firm, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander. Discard the scallions and ginger. Place 1 scallop in each scallop shell.
2. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in the bottom of an Asian-style steamer. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Add the minced scallions, garlic, and black beans, and stir-fry until the scallions are wilted, about 20 seconds. Add the chilies and cilantro, and stir-fry until the cilantro is wilted, about 20 seconds. Add the minced ginger, sugar, rice wine, soy sauce, and stock, and heat to boiling. Spoon the sauce over the scallops. Place the scallop shells on a plate, set it in the steamer, cover, and steam just until the scallops turn white, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a small skillet over high heat until shimmering. Pour it over the scallops, and serve immediately.