Newsletter & Recipes
Seared Scallops with Grilled Polenta and Thyme-Butter Sauce
- 4 cups water
- 1 ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup polenta
- 2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano , grated (about ¾ cup)
- olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 black peppercorns, cracked
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 tablespoon, chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 stick (4 ounces) cold butter, cut into pieces
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 12-18 Sea scallops
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the polenta – In a saucepan bring 4 cups of water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta and cook, stirring constantly so it doesn’t lump. Lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until quite think, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
Line an 8×8 pan with plastic wrap, allowing it to extend over the edges. Spread the polenta evenly in the pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.
Preheat grill on medium-high heat. Invert the pan to unmold the polenta. Peel off the plastic wrap. Cut the polenta into squares and brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Arrange the squares on the hot grill. Grill, turning once, until golden brown with visible grill marks, about 5 minutes on each side.
For the sauce – Combine shallots, wine, lemon juice, peppercorns, and thyme in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced to a syrup and the pan is nearly dry. Add the heavy cream and whisk to combine.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the cold butter, one piece at a time, until all is incorporated. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Return to pan and add the chopped thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the scallops – Remove the small side muscle from the scallops. Pat dry both sides with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large sauté pan on high heat. Add the butter and oil to the pan and heat until almost smoking. Add the scallops, making sure to not overcrowd the pan – working in batches if necessary.
Sear the scallops for 1-2 minutes on each side or until a golden crust forms.
To serve, place sauce on the bottom of each plate, top with grilled polenta and seared scallops. Serve immediately.
Wine Pairing – Villa del Monte 2011 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Regan Vineyard
Rack of Lamb with Lemon Quinoa and Fried Shallots
- ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground all spice
- 2 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 racks of lamb, about 16 ribs
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups quinoa
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh chives, roughly chopped
- 2-3 shallots
- vegetable oil for frying
For the Lamb - Combine the rosemary, garlic, olive oil, all spice, sea salt, and pepper. Set aside. Trim off the outside fat from the rack of lamb. Do not worry about removing every single bit.Rub the meat with dry marinade. (For more flavor, let the lamb marinade for 2-6 hours.)
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. (This would be a good time to start cooking the quinoa and fried shallots.)
If the tips of lamb chops are scraped, cover the exposed tips with aluminum foil so they do not burn. Place the lamb on the rack, grill, turning once, about 15-20 minutes, or until meat thermometer registers 135° for medium rare. Remove from heat and let rest for 8-10 minutes.
For the Lemon-Quinoa – In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock, quinoa, and salt to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.
Add the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and chopped chives. Stir gently to combine. Keep warm.
For the Shallots – Peel and slice shallots as thinly as possible, using a mandolin or sharp knife. Break apart the slices so you get individual rings.Pour oil into a small frying pan (cast iron works great!) to a depth of 1” and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the shallots to the hot oil and fry, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
To serve, cut the ribs into individual chops. Serve with lemon quinoa, garnished with fried shallots and your favorite vegetables or side salad.
Wine Pairing – Villa del Monte 2010 Malbec, Paicines Pedregal Vinyard or Villa del Monte 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, LindHill Vineyard
Poached Pears with Gorgonzola Crostini
- 4 firm but ripe small pears, peeled (or 2 large pears cut in half lengthwise peeled and cored.)
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bottle semi-dry rose wine
- ¾ cup wildflower honey
- 8 slices of baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
- 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
In a small to medium saucepan bring the wine, honey, and thyme sprigs to a boil.
Note: To poach means to cook food submerged in a flavorful liquid. Make sure your saucepan is deep enough to cover the pears completely with the wine mixture. You can also cut the pears in half lengthwise to make sure they are completely covered in poaching liquid.
Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves. Add pears and cover the saucepan. Simmer until pears are tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size and ripeness of the pear. To check for doneness, use a skewer or toothpick and insert from the bottom of the pear. If the skewer can be inserted with ease, it’s done. If there is resistance, simmer for a few minutes more.
Place one pear (or half) on a plate. Spread some Gorgonzola on the toasted crostini and serve alongside the pear.
Wine Pairing – Villa del Monte 2009 Merlot Dessert Wine – Carneros Moon Vineyard
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