Yesterday, Keeman Wong described his cinematic inspiration for his restaurant Bako, a blending of east and west in the music, decor, cocktails, and food. Today, he shares a recipe from their menu that takes the best of his two worlds, fresh seafood and produce from the Northwest and a traditional Cantonese dish, the combination of the two is a Bako signature. The dish, which uses earthy tea leaves, roots, crisp greens, savory Chinese sausage, and plump scallops, defies your average surf and turf. "I picked this dish as the one to feature because I feel it really represents what we're trying to achieve at Bako," said Wong, "Tea Smoked Scallops is a traditional Cantonese dish that here, is done in a really updated way."
3 appetizer-sized servings
Tea Smoked Scallops
9 scallops (use 3 per serving)
1/4 cups jasmine rice
1/4 cups lapsang souchong tea leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 large pieces of dried orange peel
Pat the scallops dry and mix the dry ingredients together in a sauce pan (or wok) that will fit a small metal colander. Toast the dry mixture on medium high heat until it starts producing consistent amount of smoke. Place scallops in metal colander over the sauce pan. Cover colander and saucepan with foil, keeping the smoke in, for 1 minute. Remove scallops from pan and refrigerate until ready to use.
4 cups water
3 parsnips peeled and cut into even 2 inch chunks
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp ginger chopped
3 Tbsp butter
Salt, white pepper, lemon juice to taste
Add parsnips, garlic and ginger to water in a pot. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until parsnips are soft. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of water. Put parsnips in blender, add the butter and blend until thick and creamy. Blend on high for 3 minutes, adding small amounts of reserved water to achieve a smooth consistency. After the mixture is blended, season with salt, white pepper and lemon juice to taste.
Sautéed Pea Vines
1/2 link Chinese sausage (lap cheong), diced small
1/4 cup quartered mushrooms
1/4 cup sugar snap peas
1 c pea vines
Steam Chinese sausage for about 6-8 minutes until plump then remove and cut into small cubes. In the pan, add butter and sautée Chinese sausage and mushrooms, then add sugar snap peas and pea vines until pea vines are wilted.
In separate pan, sear scallops in heated pan on high with 2 tsp oil. Reduce heat to medium and cook scallops on one side until golden brown on one side (about 3-4 minutes depending on size). Be careful not to overcook them. Drain oil then turn over scallops, remove pan from heat and keep scallops warm in pan while you sautée the pea vines.
Dab 3 dollops of parsnip purée, about 1 Tbsp each, in an evenly spaced row on a rectangular plate. Place 1 scallop on top of purée, arrange sautéed pea vines, then mushrooms and sugar snap peas on plate. Scatter Chinese sausage cubes on top of greens. Sprinkle with finishing salt.