Yesterday we celebrated our oldest child’s birthday, albeit several weeks late. With teens playing sports, involved in clubs, and working jobs, celebrating on the actual day of the birthday is hard. So, on the actual day we had a little cake and presents but saved the special, birthday-boy-chosen dinner for a less busy evening. As luck would have it, our schedules were clear for this past Sunday. Instead of having a couple hours for dinner and dessert, we had almost the entire afternoon. Knowing how much our son enjoys culinary adventures, we asked if he wanted to have a multi-course meal. What 17 year old with a hearty appetite would say no?
Based on his original menu of steak, watermelon, spinach, and pecan pie, we transformed the meal into seven courses. Starting with an amuse bouche, we followed with hors d’oeuvre, salad, soup, entrée, cheese, and dessert courses. The amuse bouche was one of the courses that I didn’t reinvent using requested menu items. Rather I reviewed the menu to see what type of ingredient was lacking, and the answer was seafood. Our 17 year old has a propensity for scallops, so searing one or two would make the perfect amuse bouche. However, to make it a more elegant dish, I decided to create a unique garnish.
I have been wanting to work with citrus peels, as I’ve seen many recipes that incorporate them into dishes. Thus, for the scallops a caramelized orange peel seemed like a great pairing. They had a strong punch of flavor and a nice amount of sweetness. Due to the intensity of flavor and their slightly sticky texture, I would recommend using them only as a garnish and not as the focal point of a dish.
- 2 oranges
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tb. + 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rind from the oranges. (Use orange segments as desired.) Combine peel, water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in a small saucepan.
- Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
- At this point, the liquid should be almost gone.
- Sprinkle teaspoon of sugar over peel and stir frequently while cooking for 5 minutes. Transfer from pot to a plate.
- When cool, separate clumps into strips and use as a garnish on dish of your choice.