Saturday, August 18, 2012

Grilled Sea Scallops and Hasselback Potatoes

If you read the blog regularly, you know my fondness for 'one grill meals' and with friends coming to dinner on the patio, I wanted to make something simple yet elegant that didn't require me to run in and out.  With the appetizers premade and the cocktails ready to pour, it was a simple matter to get dinner cooking on the grill so I could spend time with my guests.

My meal started with the roasting of the Hasselback potatoes, then was followed by placing my previously prepared skewered scallops wrapped in bacon right alongside.  During the final eight minutes of cooking, I tossed on the oiled asparagus and dinner was complete!

Bacon Wrapped Scallops
Sea scallops grill quickly and as such can use some protection during cooking over a hot grill.  While they are delicious on their own, I do enjoy them wrapped in good quality bacon.  When purchasing your scallops there are a few important tips you need to consider and I discussed those in a prior post which you can read here.  To wrap the scallops in bacon, precut it to the size you need to wrap around the scallop.  Some bacon is very wide and you will do well to cut it in half lengthwise so it is approximately the same height as the scallop edge.  Each scallop will only take about half of a length of bacon and you don't want to make it a double thickness, so also cut the bacon to the appropriate length allowing just enough for a small overlap. 

With Peppered Bacon Ready for Grilling
Place the cut pieces of bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 3-5 minutes, until the bacon is partially cooked but not crisp.  Remove and let cool and then wrap each piece around the perimeter of the scallop.  Run the skewer through the scallop where the bacon overlaps and out the other side, and then add another.  I usually place four to six sea scallops per skewer (and per person), which is quite sufficient because the richness of this dish.  Mist the raw scallops with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with a little sugar, salt and pepper.  The sugar will aid in browning.  Grill over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, turning once.  While the scallops are cooking, in a small metal pan, heat some butter with chopped garlic.  Dot cooked scallops with the garlic butter when ready to serve.

Hasselback Potatoes
Hasselback Potatoes, also known as Accordion Potatoes, were originally a Swedish dish named after Hasselbacken, a Stockholm restaurant which first served the preparation in the 1700s.  After becoming a favorite of the people in Stockholm and Sweden, the popularity of the dish spread around the world and remained popular into the 1980's among Swedish immigrants.  The dish has rather died out and I never see it on restaurant menus anymore, but perhaps is enjoying a come back with cooking enthusiasts.

Julian's Hasselback Potato on the Grill
The basic traditional Hasselback Potatoes recipe calls for potatoes with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper.  Additional herbs were also used depending on preference and availability.

Whatever ingredients you use, the technique of slicing the potato thinly but not quite all teh way through (so the potato holds together in cooking) is the same.  Here I sliced the potatoes and placed finely chopped fresh garlic between some of the slices, sprinkled with olive oil, fresh ground black pepper and sea salt.  I roasted the on the grill for about 45 minutes with the cover closed and an internal temperature of approximately 400F.

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