Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pan-Seared Scallops & Steamed Asparagus - 香煎鲜贝蒸芦笋

While cooking brings out nutrients in some vegetables (e.g. tomatoes, asparagus, carrots), some other vegetables (e.g. onions, bell peppers) are more beneficial when consumed raw. It was suggested here that if you are eating two pounds of vegetables in a single day, aim for one pound cooked and one pound raw - in other words, half-half ratio of cooked vs raw in your total vegetable consumption.

In the Chinese diet, however, we do not regularly consume a wide variety of raw vegetables. Salads such as Arugula, Radish, Grapefruit Salad and Arugula Apricot Salad are not part of our daily routine. Most of our vegetables need to be cooked, or minimally cooked the least e.g. Broccoli, Mushrooms, Tomato Salad, Shungiku (Edible Chrysanthemum Leaves) Salad. The most common raw food in the Chinese diet is probably Cucumber Pickles.

Even in Korean cuisine, you find a plethora of ways how raw vegetables are incorporated in their meals, for example, in banchan (small appetizer-side dishes that usually go along with main entrees).


Any more examples of Chinese salads/raw vegetables side-dishes?


Asparagus is one vegetable that is better cooked than raw. Cooked asparagus particularly steamed ones, makes it easier for our bodies to benefit from asparagus's protective antioxidants. (Source: BBC Good Food).

The advantage of cooking this dish in a skillet is just so that after pan-searing of scallops, the pan can be de-glazed then the thinly sliced asparagus can be steamed in the remaining scallop essence (aroma) while absorbing scallop flavors.



One-Skillet Pan-Seared Scallops & Steamed Asparagus 香煎鲜贝蒸芦笋
Pat-dry the scallops (thaw overnight in the fridge if using frozen scallops), season with salt and black pepper.  In a lightly-oiled medium-hot pan, add the scallops on one-side, sear for about 3 minutes till nicely browned (medium charred and crusted), then turn over and pan-sear the other side for about 3 more minutes till scallops are cooked. Dish out the scallops, set aside. Add in about 2-3 tbsp of water and de-glaze the brown bits on the pan, add in the thinly sliced asparagus and make sure they are spaced evenly around the skillet (Note: A wide-area flat-base skillet works really well here). Cover the skillet, turn down heat to low-medium and steam the asparagus for about 3 minutes till tender and cooked. Salt and ground pepper to taste. Serve with pan-seared scallops on top of the asparagus.

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