Oh, the Kentucky Derby. It’s perhaps the coolest, fastest, most hoity-toity and expensive two minutes in all of May. It’s the one day a year that you can wear a peacock on your head, drink minty bourbon until you’re blue in the face, and scream, “Go, Orb!”—and no one thinks anything of it because they, too, are wearing peacocks, drinking minty bourbon, and screaming for Orb. Might I also add, as a side note, how I feel excessively tall on Derby day. You must understand that it’s a rare occasion when (standing at 5’2 on a good day) I actually feel like a giant.
I kept things pretty cool, calm and collected this year for Derby day. In fact, I believe the majority of the day was spent on the 22 Clark bus, which, while there is never a shortage of free entertainment—hanging out on the 22 is quite the opposite of being cool and speedy. I did, however, manage to pick up some gorgeous sea scallops and fresh veggies (golden beets, daikon radishes, fresh fennel bulbs, carrots, and other goodness) for dinner. I also stopped by my best friend’s wine shop for a short and sweet tasting, and then headed home in time to watch the race. It was at this point that I proceeded to make a glass of minty bourbon, and then attempted to put a giant sun hat on my cat, Rita. Yep. That went over well. This hat clearly ruined Rita’s hopes and dreams of winning the Kentucky Derby during her 278th nap of the day. Sorry, honey. Orb beat you. I promise it was the hat’s fault… not your mother’s.
Seared Sea Scallops with Simple Asian Slaw
12 Sea Scallops, feet removed
10” Skillet (I prefer All-Clad Stainless, but any heavy bottomed skillet will do.)
1 medium golden beet, julienned
1 daikon radish, julienned
4 red radishes, julienned
1 medium bulb fresh fennel, sliced thin
1 carrot, julienned
2 scallions, sliced on the bias
1 jalapeño, finely diced (seeds optional)
Fresh cilantro, to taste
Large bowl (or salad bowl)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated on a Microplane
1 clove garlic, grated on a Microplane
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Asian-style mustard
2-3 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
The juice of one lime
Good quality olive oil, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the dressing and slaw: In the bottom of a salad bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing together (with the exception of the olive oil). While constantly whisking, begin to add the olive oil (in a slow, constant drizzle) to the rest of the ingredients, and whisk everything together until the dressing is completely emulsified. Add all veggies to the bowl and toss. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to a day in advance.
For the scallops: Crank the stove to medium high heat. Once the skillet begins to smoke a bit, add the grapeseed oil to the pan. Add the sea scallops, flat side down, and sear for about two minutes on both sides (or until each side is golden brown and caramelized). **If the scallops are sticking to the pan when you are flipping them, leave them alone. Once all sugars from the protein have caramelized, the scallops will release themselves. You should only need to flip them one time.** Remove from the pan and allow them to rest for about a minute or two.