By Bill St. John, Special to Tribune Newspapers
June 19, 2013
The great "oh-my-gosh" of American eating is how sweet much of our food actually is, from the get-go (nearly any snack) or even after preparation in the kitchen. Caramelized onions, dried fruit, roasted root vegetables, many sauces and reductions — these are sweet eats.
This recipe gets right to it and simply adds honey, rum, butter and the sweetness of scallop meat. Sweet in food is best paired with a corresponding level of sweet in wine; totally dry wines uncomfortably sour themselves on the palate. Don't worry, the wine need not be cloying; in fact, that isn't tasty either.
The food: Butter-rum scallops
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; add 1 pound bay scallops. Cook, turning once, until seared, about 3 minutes total. Remove scallops, leaving butter in pan. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons rum and 2 teaspoons honey to skillet; cook, stirring, until butter melts, about 1 minute. Return scallops to pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, to warm scallops, 2 minutes. Stir in 1 bag (6 ounces) baby spinach and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint; cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Makes: 4 servings
2012 Vera Vinho Verde, Portugal: Delicately sweet, that is, unnoticeably so due to its superfine acidity; just tingly with breath of spritz; waves of enticing aromas of peaches and cream; a best summer wine for sure. $11
2011 Went Riesling "Riverbank," Arroyo Seco, California: Lemonlike acidity foils the slight sugar, keeping the wine lively and crisp, but also framing gobs of peach-y and apricot-y scents and savors. $12-$14
2011 Francis Ford Coppola Pinot Noir "Votre Sante," California: Not sweet in any sugary sense but for its sweet fruit impression — lots of dark cherries here — with a smooth texture and some tangy acidity for cleanup. $14
— Bill St. John, special to Tribune Newspapers
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