Sweet Heat Bay Scallop Stir-Fry is a vibrant and mouth-watering dish that combines the delicate sweetness of bay scallops with a symphony of fiery, savory flavors. Every bite promises delicious texture, from succulent bay scallops to al dente noodles and crunchy vegetables.
What are bay scallops?
As their name suggests, bay scallops are typically found in the shallow waters of bays, estuaries and nearshore areas. They prefer eelgrass beds, which provide them with a place to attach and hide from predators.
Bay scallops are known for their mild, delicate flavor, often described as being richer and sweeter than sea scallops. They have a tender texture and can easily be overcooked, which would make them rubbery.
Because of their small size and sweet flavor, bay scallops are often used in stir-fries, ceviches, pastas, and other dishes where their unique taste and texture can shine. They require very little cooking time and are often added to dishes at the last minute to avoid overcooking.
Visually, the dish is a kaleidoscope of colors. The bright orange of the julienned carrots complements the deep red hues of the bell pepper and red onion, all harmonizing with the pearly white scallops. This vibrant mixture is sprinkled over a bed of shiny noodles, capturing the essence of a real stir-fry.
But the real magic lies in the sauce, a perfect balance of flavors from the Orient. The fundamental umami notes of the fish sauce and the nutty undertones of the sesame oil create depth. This is juxtaposed with the sultry sweetness of the brown sugar and chili sauce, producing a caramel-like glaze that clings to each ingredient. For those craving a fiery kick, sriracha ensures a lingering heat that teases the palate but doesn’t overwhelm it.
What is fish sauce?
Fish sauce is a liquid condiment derived from fermented fish, usually anchovies, and salt. It is a staple ingredient in many Southeast Asian cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, and Filipino.
To prepare fish sauce, fresh fish, often anchovies, are covered with sea salt and left to ferment in large barrels or containers for several months or even years. Over time, the fish breaks down, releasing a salty, briny liquid.
Fish sauce is a remarkable ingredient, offering a depth of flavor that’s hard to duplicate. It has a light amber color and a strong, pungent aroma. Although its smell can be quite overpowering to those unfamiliar with it, the flavor is rich, salty and full of umami. When used in cooking, it adds depth and complexity to dishes.
For those who don’t know it, the main thing is to start with small quantities and adjust according to taste. Once you understand it, it can elevate many dishes to new culinary heights.
The dish is then crowned with green onions, adding a fresh, aromatic touch that cuts through the richness. Their dual textures – soft white bulbs and crunchy green tops – add layers of depth to this gastronomic journey.
Sweet Heat Bay Scallop Stir-Fry is a complete experience. It’s a dance of flavors and textures, where sweetness meets heat, creating a culinary symphony that is sure to please any fan of adventurous cuisine.