For a while I had a draft post sitting in the cue called “thanks Mark Bittman.” I started writing it when he retired from his full time post at New York Times. I wanted to thank him for all of the inspiration that he’d given me and go through a series of my favorite recipes. The post became too cumbersome. Instead of coming up with a list I came up with one all time favorite, the Fennel Celery Salad (literally fennel, celery, parmesan sliced on a mandolin, tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper) and then a list of semi-favorites. To my chagrin he may have ‘retired’ but he didn’t really stop working, or so it seems to me. Maybe more of it is legacy than I am realizing, maybe he’s struggling to fully unplug.
I bought a pizza and wine book on one of our vacations up the coast at a winery, it pairs pizzas with different vineyards wines. I bought it thinking I was only years away from a brick pizza oven in my backyard. Oh dreams! I have since realized that it has a very fruit bomb forward central-coast clientele in mind who want to buy cases of bodacious wines and take them back to their tuscan inspired paradises on the ridge. The parings and the recipes both suggest this. e.g. “arugula, bresaola, and parmesan pizza paired with a monticello vineyards estate grown pino” or “caramelized onion, italian sausage, and roasted red peppers with a robert hall rhone de robles”. The bacon wrapped scallops recipe sat on a bed of fava beans, minus the bacon it seemed like a healthy and handsome coupling.
Steve helped me search for scallop recipes that were more adventurous than a light fry in butter and garlic, but less intense than Anne Willan’s ‘spiced’ (basically curried) scallops, and ideally not breaded (not sure why so many people insist on this treatment). He found this Mark Bittman delight, slice the scallops half way through and stuff them with basil, garlic, salt and pepper. I also took a token from the New York Times Cookbook and soaked them in vermoth for an hour and added a touch to the pan along with the olive oil. I fried them slightly (to burn off the alcohol) and then broiled them.
Fava beans were shucked once and cooked in olive oil and vermoth with shallots and garlic for 20 min. Then seperateed and shucked again (to get the greyish layer off) then put back in with the shallots, smushed with a fork and mixed with freshly chopped parsley. In retrospect I would salt these slightly.