Scallops Grilled at The Press Gang Restaurant in Halifax
I have previously introduced the very pleasant Press Gang Restaurant in Halifax, notably in my review of their terrific Pork Belly Appetizer. The dish you see above, was not only beautifully plated, it was one of the best Grilled Scallop appetizers I have ever had.
This dish was described in the Appetizer section of The Press Gang menu as being served with ‘Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Pesto’. On reading this, I rather took it to mean that the scallops would be accompanied by a pesto made from asparagus and lemon. I turned out to be wrong.
The Scallops were served in a mild Basil Pesto, with fresh Asparagus spears along side, and the Meyer Lemon was included as a sort of Marmalade type condiment on top. The elegant plating, with the Asparagus being arranged ‘Spilt-Rail Fence’ style, was rounded out with two little pinches of bright red Paprika.
The Scallops themselves were expertly grilled. The basic idea with grilling Scallops is to sear them to a crustiness on the outer flat surfaces without allowing the inner flesh to overcook to the point of being rubbery. This is something that restaurant cooks often fail to do correctly, but here, at The Press Gang, the meat was still slightly translucent at the center and delightfully tender.
The Basil Pesto was very nicely prepared and very delicate. I am not entirely sure that I would choose this as a pairing for Scallops in my own kitchen (although I am not saying it was necessarily a poor choice here), but I did think it worked nicely with the Asparagus. I should note that Asparagus is not one of my favorite vegetables, but these spears were nicely steamed to crisp-tenderness and had a lovely fresh flavor.
The Meyer Lemon topping is what made this dish somewhat unique. Citrus, both Lemon and Orange, always pairs nicely with Scallops (and most seafood, generally) but the Meyer Lemon in this case was candies and paired with a little thinly sliced Scallion. It added just a nice additional sweetness and a counterbalancing tang to the rich Scallop flavor. All told, the Scallops Grilled at The Press Gang made for a top-notch appetizer.