Scallops Grilled at The Claddagh Oyster House in Charlottetown, PEI
I went for lunch at The Claddagh Oyster House in Charlottetown, PEI in order to take advantage of their ‘Buck-a-Shuck’ Oyster special and a couple of items caught my eye on their dinner menu. I returned later that evening and tried the little appetizer you see pictured above. It featured beautifully grilled Scallops in a uniquely special Sauce and was one of the best Scallop appetizers I have ever had.
The Scallops were listed on the menu simply as ‘Brown Butter Scallops’, but beneath this was a further description specifying that the sauce was made with Chili Oil and a *House* XO Sauce. I required the waiter about this and she confirmed that, indeed, the House XO Sauce is made by the Chef (who, incidentally, is not Cantonese). Naturally, I had to give this a try.
Well, the Scallops themselves were, I have to say, expertly grilled. They were seared perfectly to form a lovely crust on the surfaces, and the interior was tender, sweet, and still just lightly translucent. My only disappointment abut them was there were only four served. I could easily have handled another two or four of them, they were so good.
As for the Sauce. This was a delightful surprise. I have tried making XO Sauce a number of times, and have done a fairly decent job with one or two of them, but the version here was better than mine. I think what made the XO Sauce so good was that the flavor of dried shrimp came through nicely and it was not over-sweetened with either sugar or an excess of dried scallop. The chili oil, too, was added with a deft touch and the entire effort was terrific.
The plating job, which used nothing more than some Pea-shoots as garnish, was simple, elegant, and added visual appeal to a dish that was cleverly conceived and expertly executed.