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ffwd: warm scallop salad and tomato-cheese tartlets

At my house, there are two definitions of August. To me, August = Tomatoes. To the other resident (husband Howard), August = Corn.

Selections for the first two weeks of French Fridays with Dorie were perfect. Tomato-Cheese Tartlets the first week, and Warm Scallop Salad with Basil, Tomato, and Corn. I missed last week’s deadline for the tartlets, but made both this week.

The tartlets were fun to make. The individual tarts were constructed on disks of puff pastry. I had a little trouble with the puff pastry. The package said you could defrost at broom temperature for 20 minutes or microwave for 90 seconds. I went with the quicker approach, but turned on the microwave and walked away. It got a little too soft and wouldn’t unfold. I just rolled it out with the folds making extra layers, but I had some tearing that didn’t mend as forgivingly as pie crust. But I liked the simplicity of cutting out circles and baking until lightly golden.

As with many of Dorie’s recipes, this one was more of a suggestion than a strict recipe. The disks were smeared with a layer of tapenade or pesto. I tried two of each. This is topped with alternating slices of tomatoes and cheese, goat cheese for me. I warmed the tartlets under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese started to melt. A final drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a fresh basil leaf garnish and it was done. We each ate two of these for dinner, but one tart accompanied with a salad would have made a lovely lunch. Sipping a glass of cold white wine on the side is the perfect accompaniment.

The warm scallop salad was another summer treat. The scallops were a bit pricey, but worth it for the end result. I left out the nectarines, but the lightly dressed corn, freshly picked backyard cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil coulis were packed with flavor. The vegetables surrounded the seared scallops which were the star in the center of the plate. Each component was super simple to put together, now that I’ve learned from several Dorie recipes how foolproof it is to pan-sear scallops. I could make this for a weeknight dinner after a long day at work. The final dish was restaurant worthy.

All-in-all, it was a good week for enjoying new recipes spotlighting seasonal ingredients.

Recipes aren’t posted, but are available in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To read about other home cooks’ experiences with these recipes, check out the Leave Your Link posts at French Fridays with Dorie.

ffwd: corn pancakes

True confessions! I haven’t been totally excited about most of June’s recipes for French Fridays with Dorie. When I reviewed the list, I was completely uninspired by June’s finale, Corn Pancakes. I’ll admit that I like, but do not love, corn. When I read the recipe and saw that it called for canned corn, my ambivalence dropped a notch. We are on the cusp of local corn season, after all, not mid-winter. However, I’m in this group for the long haul, so I felt compelled to play along.

I’ll be the first to admit that I very wrong about this one! Fresh corn from the south is available in stores, so I couldn’t do the canned corn. I wasn’t sure how much to substitute, but two ears, cooked, and then stripped of their kernels, yielded just under two cups, which seemed about the same as a one pound can. There weren’t many ingredients, just the corn, eggs, a bit of flour, and salt.

The batter was a snap to mix up in the blender.

Then, the pancakes cooked in hot oil for just a few minutes.

I got about 18 little silver-dollar pancakes. The first night, we each had a few to accompany burgers.

Even better were the leftovers, reheated and topped with a dollop of crème fraîche and a piece of smoked salmon, the way that Jean-Georges Vongerichten served these for Dorie.

In the end, I really liked these and would definitely make them again, more likely as an appetizer served the “Jean-Georges” way.

If you want to see what the other bloggers thought about their corn pancakes, follow the links posted under the Leave Your Link post for Corn Pancakes. We don’t publish the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.