Cooking With Fire
One of the culinary joys of life in my southeastern Massachusetts home is the Atlantic sea scallop. Our major port, New Bedford, rules the waves when it comes to fishing these delectable bivalves.
A shopping trip to one of New Bedford’s many Portuguese groceries inspired these simple appetizers, which are, of course, no more than a reworking of the old scallops-wrapped-in-bacon standby. The difference with these is that, because both presunto (Portuguese air-cured ham) and super-fresh scallops are delicious raw, there’s no need to overcook the poor shellfish — just a blazing hot quick sear to crisp up the edges and take the chill off. You’ll need a pile of bamboo skewers, and you may substitute prosciutto for presunto.
Serves a gathering of 10 or 12, but not for long
You Will Need
Up to three hours ahead, prep the lollipops. Lay out a slice of presunto flat. Set a single scallop at one end on edge, and roll it up like a wheel in the presunto. Fasten through with a skewer, lollipop-wise. Continue with the rest, and stack them all carefully in an airtight tub. Keep chilled until cooking time.
You may make the optional accompaniment 4 hours to 2 days ahead. Drain the olives of their brine and
put in a jar. Heat a small griddle or cast-iron pan over a medium flame. Toss in the dry chile, cumin seeds, and peppercorns. Toast for about 30 seconds or until aromatic — do not scorch. Add to olives, along with garlic and olive oil. Close the jar and shake it to coat the olives with the flavorings. Chill until needed.
When you’re ready to serve, put the olives in a serv- ing bowl, and toss in the parsley. Wring in the lemon slices, and then toss the rinds in, too. Give it a stir.
Set up a griddle over a wood fire and get it pretty hot.