I moved to the coast of NC when I was 12 years old (not from too far away, though). Little did I know this little place by the sea would be my favorite spot in the world, and I am proud to call it my home.
Every year since I’ve lived here, without fail, I visit the North Carolina Seafood Festival. Seafood is our life here; it’s what drives our economy. The NC Seafood Festival recognizes the importance of seafood to my home in eastern North Carolina. The proceeds of the festival are donated to Carteret County non-profit groups that help with the event.
So now… after 25 years straight of attending this awesome festival… I have the total privilege of being a judge at the Chef’s Competition.
Me? Pinch me, please!
There’s also a Chef’s Tent (Cooking with the Chefs) on the Saturday of the festival that features chefs preparing seafood dishes right before your eyes using fresh local ingredients. While browsing the recipes to be featured this year, I fell in love with the idea of cooking (and eating!) this dish that is going to be prepared by Chef David Greenleaf of Windandsea Restaurant: Sea Scallops in a Jalapeno Cream Sauce.
I decided to make it, and added a little bourbon to the cream sauce… oh my word! And I cannot wait to see how Chef David prepares it.
Can you tell I’m a little excited?
So it’s probably understood that I eat a TON at the festival every year. That’s okay, though because I always run the Twin Bridges 8K Road Race that’s also an event of the NC Seafood Festival.
I’m sure it burns the 5,000 calories that I consume there, so it’s all good.
Oh, and I absolutely LOVE to ride all of the rides like a little kid at the fair… and enjoy the live entertainment. My mom says I’m 38 going on 18… I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing at all.
About this recipe: I just added a basic cream sauce with bourbon to finely diced jalapenos and minced garlic. I drizzled it over seared sea scallops and threw a little chopped fresh cilantro on top. Pretty simple, but looks and tastes like you spent an eternity preparing it.
If you’re down my way, join me at the North Carolina Seafood Festival, held every year the first weekend in October on the Morehead City waterfront. Hope to see you there!
- 12 Sea scallops, patted dry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, cubed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced (about 1/8 cup)
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/8 cup bourbon whiskey
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh chopped cilantro
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of scallops.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place scallops in saucepan. While scallops are cooking on the first side, add butter and lemon juice. Cook for 2-1/2 minutes on each side.
- Set cooked scallops aside on a dish.
- Heat olive oil In a saucepan over medium high heat. Add minced garlic and diced jalapenos. Saute until golden, approximately 2 minutes.
- Add bourbon and stir well. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add heavy whipping cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in butter, salt and pepper. Simmer for an additional 2 minutes, or until cream sauce is slightly thickened.
- Drizzle cream sauce over cooked scallops. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro.