Birthday Dinner Menu and Scallops with Wasabi Hollandaise Recipe

Scallops with Wasabi Hollandaise

Well, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…ok maybe I was the only one, but nevertheless, here it is – my actual birthday dinner! Our original blogging plan was to keep track of tasty meals throughout the year and eventually narrow it down to some favourites for the ultimate birthday dinner feast. Of course, things haven’t gone exactly according to plan and most of this birthday menu hasn’t been featured on the blog (it turns out that putting together blog posts is actually a lot of work..!) Despite not quite sticking to the plan, working on this little blog has encouraged a lot more creativity in our meals and we’ve realized that even a simple after work weeknight dinner can feel like a special occasion.

As you may have anticipated, this meal was kind of on the other end of the spectrum from a simple weeknight dinner! And it also involved much more food than two people should eat in one sitting…or even spread out over several hours. Luckily we managed to recruit a couple dinner guests to help us tackle the eating of all this deliciousness (thanks Mom and Dad). Here it is…

Appetizer Board with Cured Meats, Cheese and Caviar

You will have to picture a still-warm-from-the-oven loaf of homemade focaccia to go with this delightful assortment of cheeses, cured meats and pickled things. Unfortunately I was too distracted by the caviar to get any photos of the bread.

Caviar and Lemon Zest

And then there was Pan Seared Tuna with Miso Dressing…

Pan Seared Tuna with Miso Sesame Sauce

And Scallops with Wasabi Hollandaise Sauce…

Scallops with Wasabi Hollandaise

And Prawns with Spicy Ginger Cocktail Sauce…

Prawns with Spicy Ginger Cocktail Sauce

And Coconut Curry Crab – yes, this one might look familiar since we did actually post a similar recipe! Check it out here.

Coconut Curry Crab

 And finally Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce and a Beet Goat Cheese Salad! Here’s Tim with the recipe details…

Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce and Beet Goat Cheese Salad

Scallops, jumbo prawns, tuna steaks, dungeness crab, and caviar – does anything say decadence like seafood?  Maybe a lobster dish could have stepped up the luxury another notch, but we live on the west coast and dungeness crab is British Columbia’s answer to the Atlantic lobster.

These dishes make such great dinner party appetizers because they have incredibly short cooking times.  Also, you can prepare all these simple sauces well before your guests arrive.  Basically, you could cook and serve the scallops, prawns and tuna, all within 12 minutes.  As long as you are comfortable having 3 pans going at once.  If not, no big deal – do them one at a time, you get more drama out of each dish this way.  You will still only spend 25 minutes cooking.  This short cooking time is especially important on Shannon’s birthday – I want to share the birthday girl’s company, not be hiding in the kitchen (though we do have an open kitchen, but you know what I mean).

A little aside about the wasabi hollandaise sauce – I’m pretty sure there is some type of acid in the horseradish that causes the hollandaise sauce to separate.  Don’t worry, you can easily bring it back to life with a little water and some whisking – then serve immediately.  Let me know if this happens to you!

Scallops with Wasabi Hollandaise Sauce

4 eggs yolks

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

½ cup of unsalted butter, melted

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of wasabi (in the tube), or more if you like

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

5 large scallops

salt and pepper to taste

In a stainless steel bowl that can be used as a double boiler, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice until doubled in volume.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl or you will end up with scrambled eggs.  Whisk thoroughly.  While whisking, slowly drizzle the melted butter into the eggs.  Continue to whisk until the mixture doubles in volume again.  Remove from the heat and add the salt.  Set aside in a warm, but not hot, location.

Bring out your thickest, heaviest frying pan.  If you have a cast iron pan, that is perfect.  Put it on high heat and get it to near smoking.  Season your scallops with salt and pepper.  Add the oil, then immediately add the scallops.  Now don’t touch them!!!  Don’t move them around.  Let them sear for about 1 and ½ minutes per side.  They should have a nice crust.

Add the wasabi to the hollandaise sauce mixture and whisk.  You may want a little more wasabi, if you like things spicy.  Spoon a touch of sauce on the plate and top with the scallop.  Chives would make a nice garnish.  Enjoy!

We’ll be back with the rest of the recipes from this birthday feast, so stay tuned!

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