Scallops on Valentine's Day
In many countries the fruit of the sea has been associated with aphrodisiac powers. A fair number of ancient religions forbade the eating of fish among their priests as it was believed that the consuming of sea animals made one ardent in love.
The Greek poet Asclepiades advocated the fruits of the sea for anyone planning to spend an evening with a willing woman. In Roman times, a fish sauce was made to arouse sexual feelings. Madame Pompadour, the greatest of French mistresses, often dined on seafood as a prelude to l’amour.
This association of fish with sex has some scientific basis. R. Henderickson in Lewd Food points out that fish contains an amount of phosphorous that has a limited but direct reaction to the genitourinary tract. Others have asserted that the phosphorous and iodine content of sea creatures causes a direct reaction upon males and females alike.
This scallop dish, rich tasting with a strong flavour of the sea infused with garlic, coriander and a touch of lime – is a dish Madame Pompadour would have cherished. It is a great taste representing the bounty of the sea to be enjoyed by lovers on Valentine’s Day.
Vieiras al Ajillo – Scallops in Garlic Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
1 pound scallops (preferably large)
2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
4 cups cooked rice
In a frying pan, heat oil and butter over medium heat until butter melts then add garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the scallops, coriander (cilantro) and rice and continue simmering for a further 2 minutes. Add the scallops and cook for 6 minutes turning over once. Turn off the heat, and stir in the coriander (cilantro). With a slotted spoon, remove the scallops reserving the sauce in the frying pan. Place scallops over cooked rice. Spoon the sauce over the scallops. Serve immediately