Cooking For Leslie

Welcome. My name is Stu and this is my blog. This blog is my attempt to document my foray into semi-serious cooking, which I dedicate to my lovely wife Leslie (who is a spicy dish all on her own). My hope is that readers who are novices in the kitchen will be encouraged to take risks and to feel braver in their cooking. If you'd like to email me privately (instead of posting to the comments section) my address is

Location: Redondo Beach, California, United States

“Every man's memory is his private literature.” -- Aldous Huxley

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Scallops with Asparagus and Leeks

Tonight I screwed my courage to the sticking post and took on a Jamie Oliver recipe. You see, his recipes, while uncomplicated, are intimidating to me. For example, tonight’s recipe called for leeks, which I had never cooked before, and asparagus, which can easily be ruined. But I love my wife and I wanted to impress her, so I threw myself into the deep end. And let me tell you, it was a piece of cake.

The recipe was simple (the following is printed without permission, straight from Jaimie Oliver's website):


16 asparagus spears, trimmed
12 baby leeks
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful of fresh marjoram or summer savory, leaves picked
1 lemon
12 large scallops, trimmed
2 pinches five-spice

(the following is Jaimie talking) - I've come across a couple of fantastic revelations here that I want to tell you about. First, by scoring the scallops on one side in a criss-cross fashion they open out when seared like a beautiful flower and when drizzled with a little dressing or sauce they take in all the flavour. Second, the subtle use of five-spice with any seafood is a real pleasure.

Blanch your asparagus and leeks in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes or until just tender and drain. Get a large, non-stick frying pan hot, then drizzle with olive oil. Cook your asparagus and leeks in batches if need be - they should cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Season and cook until lightly coloured on all sides. Remove to a bowl and rip over half your herbs. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave to one side while you cook your scallops.

Get the same pan nice and hot, score the scallops half-way through in a criss-cross fashion on one side, season them on both sides with some salt, pepper and the five-spice, drizzle the pan with a few lugs of olive oil and add your scallops. Fry for a couple of minutes until they are golden, flip them over, add the rest of your herbs and cook for 1 more minute.

While the scallops are cooking, divide your leeks and asparagus between 4 warmed plates. Remove the pan from the heat and add 2 good knobs of butter and the juice of 1/2 the lemon. Shake the pan about, then put 3 scallops and a little bit of juice on to each plate. Serve immediately and get stuck in!


(this rest is Stu talking) - I ran into an adventure at the store, as they didn’t have baby leeks. Instead, they had regular-sized leeks, which are these gargantuan affairs that look like radioactive green onions. They really scared the hell out of me, so I spoke to the green grocer about substitutions. However, I was interrupted by a wonderful woman who said, “no, don’t substitute. Leeks are terrific.” So I decided that I’d go for it and see what happened.

When I got down to it, after blanching the leeks, I cut them into disks and fried them. They turned out fine.

Another adjustment to the recipe came when I realized at the last second that I didn’t have marjoram. So I substituted oregano and thyme, which was a fine way to go.

I used extra salt on the scallops, ‘cause Leslie loves salty things.

Did she like it? Why yes she did, thanks for asking.

Next time I cook asparagus I’m going to try and find white asparagus and fry them (without blanching) with oil and garlic.


Blogger lsaul said...

I don't do asparagus -- but I do enjoy braised leeks.

After cutting off the ends, I then cut up the leeks into 4"-6" sections and sauté them in a pan on medium heat with butter and garlic.

When they're all limp looking, they're ready!

I use this as a topping for my COQ AU VIN recipe (which I'd gladly share) which itself goes on top of noodles, or other pasta...

9:34 AM  
Blogger Stu said...

I love sauteing things. Especially with garlic and butter.

Definitely post your Coq Au Vin recipe!

7:38 PM  

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