In a simple dish like red beans, it’s imperative the beans are “good.” Old beans regardless of soaking or cooking times will not completely soften. To ensure my beans are of good quality, I order directly from Camellias beans.
New Orleans is one of my favorite eating cities in America. One dish everyone should be required to taste is red beans and rice. Simple ingredients transform humble beginnings into a silky, smokey, spicy pot of greatness.
I made a hock stock prior to making the red beans. Fill a large pot with water (12-15 cups)completely covering the hocks. Bring to a boil, cover reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 2-3 hours, until stock is cloudy and hocks are tender. Can make stock, the night before and refrigerate(once cooled) overnight while beans soak.
The night before preparing place beans in a large bowl and cover with 6 cups cold water. 12-16 hours later, drain and rinse.
In a large Dutch oven add bacon grease or oil to medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Add salt and cook, until vegetables are soft, stir often. Once slightly browned add garlic and cook, stirring, until for a minute. Add cayenne pepper, and 15 grinds of fresh black pepper. Stir well to combine. Add beans, along with hock stock, hocks and bay leave. If stock fails to cover beans, add water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer. Cook beans uncovered until beans are tender 2 -2 1/2 hours.
Using a large wooden spoon, mash 1/4 of beans against side of pot or use an immersion blender.
Once hocks have cooked, pick meat disguard bones and skin, return meat to pot. Serve with white rice.
Back in the late 1990’s I lived in San Francisco. Around the corner from my apartment was a great little sushi spot called Sushi Groove. Leo, the sushi chef, often made up custom dishes for me to taste. One night Leo served me a dungeoness crab and scallop “salad” on top of a warm avocado. That is my inspiration for this scallop & avocado salad.
Scallop & Avacado
If you decide to make this dish, it’s very important you use dry scallops. Ask the fish monger if the scallops are wet/soaked/treated. If there are not dry scallops, thank him or her and make something else. Wet scallops are treated with a solution of water and sodium, tripolyphosphate or STPP. This solution is used to preserve the scallops and add weight, which means you’re paying more for an inferior product. Furthermore wet scallops will never product a nice brown crust instead they will release liquid into your pan and give you a rubbery result.
Combine well and give it a taste. If salads tart, add a little extra virgin olive oil. If not tart enough, add a little more lime juice. Set aside
Wash scallops under cold water, remove muscle from side pat dry, make certain scallops are dry.
Place sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. If using sugar, add a little dash to the presentation side of the scallops(first side in pan).
Place butter and oil in pan. Once smoking add scallops(sugar side down)to the pan and cook for 75-95 seconds on each side. Make certain scallops are not touching. You will see a thin crush form.
Remove from pan, place first side(sugar side) up on plate for presentation. Serve