Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sea Scallops Poached in Citrus and White Wine with a Spicy Grapefruit Reduction Paired with 2010 Hawk Haven New Jersey Pinot Grigio

After spending New Year's Eve with Friends Don and Beth in Cape May New Jersey, we set out on the first day of 2012 to visit several wineries in the Cape May area.  Among our stops, I was introduced to a true gem at Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery. Todd and Kenna, owners of Hawk Haven Vineyard do several things exceptionally well - they produce wonderful food friendly wine, they run a warm and welcoming tasting room where they do an exceptional job of describing the wine and their philosophy behind each wine, and they are really nice people.

Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery is young having produced their first vintage in 2007.  I find the quality of their wines quite amazing given the short time they have been producing.  The food friendly approach to their wines is of particularl interest to me.  For me, this means healthy acidity, a restrained approach which allows the fruit do the talking, and avoiding heavy handed approaches with oak and alcohol.  In other words, their wines are well balanced and begging for a great meal.

When I first tasted the 2010 Pinot Grigio from Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery, I was immediately impressed with the beautiful floral aroma and stone fruit flavors mingling with hints of lemon in perfect balance with healthy acidity.  The acidity was a component of the wine I tucked away in my memory banks with the thought that this wine could standup to a number of bold dishes.  When conceiving my preparation of citrus and white wine poached sea scallops, the 2010 Pinot Grigio immediately came to mind.

This preparation involves poaching the sea scallops in a medley of white wine, orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime juice.  When plated, the scallops are then drizzled with a spicy grapefruit reduction.  Clearly, this amounts to acid, a bit more acid, and a touch of spicy acid to top it all off.  Anything other than the bold acidity of the 2010 Hawk Haven Pinot Grigio would have fallen flat in the face of this aggressive approach.  The pairing was a match made in heaven as the stone fruit flavors of the Pinot Grigio melded with the citrus bathed scallops.

I have to admit some fear that I had gone overboard with the citrus approach to this dish.  I was afraid that the pepper flakes in combination with the citrus juice medley would overwhelm the delicate sweet brininess of the scallops.  My fears were unwarranted.  The dish was wonderfully balanced with layers of flavor rewarding our senses.

Finally, I need to thank Chef Sue for her spectacular role as sous chef.  I came home from work, jumped into the phone booth and transformed from mild mannered cube dwelling suit guy to chef with an acidic attitude.  Upon entering the kitchen, I found mis en place set for my culinary adventure.  Now that is the way to cook!



1 pound sea scallops
2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
Juice from two freshly squeezed limes
Juice from one freshly squeezed lemon
2 cups white wine
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 medium carrot, diced
½ medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons freshly ground ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup grapefruit, segmented
Sea salt to taste

Spicy Grapefruit Reduction


¾ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
¾ cup white wine
zest from ½ lime
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grenadine
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon Yuzu juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste


  1. Combine orange juice, white wine, rice vinegar, lemon juice, carrots, onions, celery, ginger, bay leaf, pepper flakes and peppercorns in large pot. Bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. While poaching liquid is cooking, prepare Spicy Grapefruit Reduction: Combine grapefruit juice, white wine, grenadine, lime zest, shallots and rice vinegar in small sauce pan. Bring to simmer and reduce volume by ½. Add butter while whisking sauce. Season with salt, to taste.
  3. To poach scallops, add scallops to poaching liquid and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove with strainer and reserve warm.
  4. To serve, place scallops over grapefruit segments and drizzle with the spicy grapefruit reduction and season with sea salt to taste.
I served the scallops with roasted cauliflower and onions.  Cut a head of cauliflower into bite size segments.  Coarsely chop an onion.  Spread onion and cauliflower over a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt in pepper.  Place in a preheated oven (350 F) for 25 minutes or until edges of cauliflower begin to brown.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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