Farewell, Old Friend

Well, it's official. Summer is over. Oh sure, according to the calendar it was gone a few weeks ago but was it too much to hope that the few lingering warm days was a sign that summer would hold on just a bit longer? This week brought cooler mornings which make me want to stay in bed and burrow under the covers with my little snuggle bunny, who can be seen here taking up residence on my side of the bed as soon as I got up. I don't so much mind the cooler evenings because I enjoy sitting on the patio with a glass of wine as the sun goes down but I do hate that the days are getting shorter. I also hate that period of time that it takes for my taste buds to give up the ghost of fresh summer fruits and vegetables and acclimate to the tastes of fall. But every time I walk into the grocery store it becomes more readily apparent that it's time to focus on root vegetables, pumpkin inspired desserts, and heartier entrees.

I decided to give summer one last hoorah with this recipe from the August 2008 issue of Bon Appetit for Grilled Scallops and Nectarines with Corn and Tomato Salad. It was a delightful combination of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and seafood. Scallops are not something that I am extremely fond of, but having only had them 2 times in my life I figured the only way that I'd develop a taste for them is to continue to try them.

Even though this recipe took up half the magazine printed page, once you read through it, you realize that it's fairly simple. I also think it's elegant enough for a dinner party but I did make a few changes to the recipe. I had some prepared basil pesto that I used instead of making it but quite honestly, I don't like pesto. Again, I wanted to try it just for the sake of maybe my taste buds had changed, but no. I will leave it out completely next time. Also, the recipe left the corn raw but I sauteed it for a few minutes in just a bit of butter because the idea of raw corn just wasn't appealing to me or most of the 47 reviewers who commented on the recipe. And for once, I think my photo looks better than the one posted on the website. I used a grill pan and prepared this indoors because we have a huge grill and some days it's just too much trouble to deal with. Today was one of those days.

Paired with a nice glass of chilled Pinot Grigio, this was the perfect farewell to my old friend summer. Until next year!!

Grilled Scallops & Nectarines with Corn & Tomato Salad
Serves: 6

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
1/8 teaspoon (generous) piment d'Espelette or chili powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel

Basil Puree:
3/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel

24 large sea scallops, side muscles removed, patted dry
3 firm but ripe nectarines (white or yellow), each cut into 6 wedges
Olive oil, for brushing
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from 2 large ears of corn
24 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
Fleur de sel

For dressing:
Whisk lime juice, lime peel, and piment d'Espelette in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with fleur de sel and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

For basil puree:
Blanch basil in small pot of boiling salted water 30 seconds; drain. Squeeze to remove as much water as possible, then coarsely chop. Puree basil and oil in blender until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Season to taste with fleur de sel. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Return to room temperature before using.

For salad:
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush scallops and nectarines with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill scallops until slightly charred and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Grill nectarines until slightly charred, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer scallops and nectarines to plate. Arrange 4 scallops on each of 6 plates. Toss corn and 2 tablespoons dressing in medium bowl. Toss tomatoes with 1 tablespoon dressing in another bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon corn around scallops. Scatter tomatoes over corn. Arrange nectarine wedges decoratively on plates. Drizzle some dressing over scallops, then spoon some basil puree over. Sprinkle sliced basil and fleur de sel over corn and tomatoes and serve.



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