An exotic gazpacho – Scallops with lychee gazpacho
Un gazpacho exotique- St Jacques au gaspacho de litchis
A good friend of mine is half Basque, so one day, while browsing through her cookbooks, I found a very interesting book on Basque cuisine, written by Gerald Hirigoyen, an amazing Basque chef who owns a few restaurants in San Francisco, among which Bocadillos and Piperade.
One particular recipe really caught my attention just because I never saw lychees in Basque cuisine; Litchi (or lychee) is an Asian fruit, mainly grown in China and is considered a tropical fruit for us. In France, you can find lychees almost anywhere and we eat a lot of them, but only as a fruit; it’s mainly sold during winter time, and I have never really seen it incorporated into a main course.
The natural sweetness of scallops blends beautifully with fruits, and I could not stop thinking about this recipe…I finally decided to give it a try, but twisting things around a little, changed a few ingredients and added some cayenne pepper, it gave the dish a little kick and I love it. I will definitely serve it again when I have a dinner party.
The gazpacho is slightly fruity but not too sweet and very smooth, when combined with the crunchiness of the cucumber is a perfect harmony of textures.
The scallops need to be very fresh, I used the jumbo ones, make sure to pat them dry, to remove all excess water, so they are able to brown well.
Ingredients for 4
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 English cucumbers, peeled
- 12 lychees
- 1 large tomato, peeled, cored and diced
- cayenne pepper
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil + 2 tbs
- 8 large scallops
- 1 tbs mint chiffonade
- salt and pepper
Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vinegar has reduced to a syrup consistency. Set aside.
Cut half of the cucumber in half lengthwise, remove seeds and chop one half. Using a mandoline, julienne the other half to form some spaghetti strands with the cucumber. Throw away the seeds. Place julienne in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, toss to coat and set aside for 15 minutes.
Peel lychee and remove the seed. In a blender, combine lychees, tomato, chopped cucumber, lemon juice, cayenne, olive oil, salt and pepper. Process to obtain a smooth consistency. Cover and refrigerate.
Rub scallops on both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet and saute scallops over high heat, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Divide lychee gazpacho among 4 plates. Rinse julienne cucumber with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with mint and place some in the center of the gazpacho. Mount with two scallops in the center and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
This entry was posted by silvia on July 27, 2010 at 5:08 am, and is filed under Appetizers, Express - Less than 30 minutes, Fish/Seafood. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0.You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.
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Wow, this is exotic, but so inventive! I have never thought about it, but I bet the scallops would combine beautiful with sweet lychee. And lovely photos of that fresh lychee.
a very creative gazpacho,silvia!i posted a clasical gazpacho…yours is a poem of flavours!
I agree…very exotic and creative. I love seeing these types of recipes on my favorite blogs…I learn so much about flavorings and pairings. This looks like it should be served at a gourmet restaurant!
Ooooh…I love this. That’s such a beautiful starter. I think I will eat all the 4 plates of this gazpacho I love lychees very much…hard to get here. I don’t think there will be any left for cooking if there are….haha. Trust you are doing well, Silvia. Have a nice day
look wonderful….you would have to give me a whole boat load of those gorgeous scallops that lone one didnt make it to the soup either….wow this looks great!
Silvia…this dish is certainly exotic and interesting. Although, I’ve always found lychees visually pleasing…my palate doesn’t seem to enjoy them like most people do. I’m sure I can work around this…because you absolutely picked a very pleasant savoury dish to try.
Hope you’re doing better and I wish you a fantastic, healthy week ahead ;o)
Ciao for now,
Hey Silvia, I love Pais Vasco and its cuisine (smile). This looks beautiful and so perfect for the summer heat. In fact, this is my ideal dinner for this type of weather-I don’t need a heavy starch….
p.s. just buzzed this!
Une partie de ma famille vit depuis des années dans le pays Basque, il paraît que c’est très beau! sinon, comme toi je n’ai jamais mangé des litchis que frais en fruit; mais j’imagine la saveur délicate du fruit se marie bien avec les coquilles; superbe, comme toujours et la photo est belle et donne envie!
Exotic, indeed! I feel a little more worldly just reading about it!
It sounds completely divine!
Just the other day I was eating a lychee and thinking what things you can make with them other than lychee sorbet and my Mum’s 1980′s lychee mousse!
This looks fascinating. I’m so curious to give it a try but I don’t eat scallops. Is there something you would recommend I substitute the scallops for?
I covet lichees when I can find them. I should have picked som up at Granville Island last weekend.
I can understand how this recipe nagged to be made. Very original
Lychee gazpacho…that sounds sensational. The scallop atop is a nice addition.
Such an original recipe and the colours are amazing. I love the shots of those lychees. The red of their skins is so intense, my eyes almost hurt looking at them!
Fantastic recipe creative use of lychee in the gazpacho. Thanks for introducing me to a new cookbook gotta check that out. Your photos are so beautiful and vibrant.
That scallop is cooked to perfection.
you always tempt me with my favourite ingredients!!
what do you think abut using raw thin sliced scallops as a carpaccio with this gazpacho?
I want to say, where do you come up with all your incredible ideas but you mentioned the source of the inspiration for this dish so the next thing I want to say is when are you opening up your resto??? I want a reservation because I am in love with your food:-)
Like Patty said, I’m also always amazed by your flavor pairings. I grew up eating lychee but I’ve never been inspired to make something like this. You’re awesome.
Stunning, and I do mean stunning! absolutely love this
This looks wonderful. I love lychee and have never thought of doing anything like this. Your recipes are always absolutely unique.
Marvelous, Silvia! I do love your savory use of lychees…a most underrated fruit. Brilliant paired with those lovely scallops! And the dish makes such a pretty presentation.
YUm use of lychee!
You have the most vivid culinary imagination. What an inspiring dish!
I love lychee. I’ve seen lychee incorporated in a curry dish but not in gazpacho!! Wonderful dish. It’s such a creative and unique dish
Mmm, this dish looks so lovely! I love scallops and lychee too. I’ve only eaten them fresh and never in a gazpacho, but I so wish I could try this! And of course it would best if someone else made this for me. I’m completely wowed! )
Oh that lychee gazpacho is so creative! And with those scallops…yum yum yum!
wow, what an amazing combination! i can just taste the lychee and scallop…