Although the mercury is still hitting 90 during the day, Phoenicians are rejoicing. With nighttime temperatures dropping down to almost "chilly" (i.e., 65 degrees to you non-Arizonans), we're finally able to think about putting on some long sleeves. Last weekend I was in the mood to make a light summery meal to toast the end of summer, and the beginning of our "nice" weather.
In terms of wine, nothing says summer more to me than a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The crisp acidity, the bright flavors, and the light grassy taste go so well with summer greens. At the end of a long day in and out of the 100+ degree heat, I crave this wine. Still in my summery mood, I started with this Brancott Sauvignon Blanc and created dinner to match.I saved this recipe for the cilantro miso pesto on the internet so long ago that I do not remember the original source. The original recipe calls for it as part of a soba noodle salad. However, I chose to prepare the pesto and serve it on some beautiful scallops I picked up. It was a delicious combination: the pesto was flavorful, but didn't overpower the subtle sweetness of the seared scallops. Served over spaghetti squash, it was a perfect match for the sauvignon blanc. As much as I adore any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, I will tuck them away for the winter and wait until the next season. From here on out, it will be buttery chardonnays and big, spicy reds.
Cilantro-Miso Pesto over Pan Seared Scallops
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup white miso
1/2 tsp. crushed or grated ginger
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp. wasabi powder, or to taste
1-2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice (my addition)
1 lb large scallops
Directions:Place cilantro, miso, garlic, wasabi powder and rice vinegar in a food processor and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth. Adjust the seasonings, adding salt if necessary. Set the pesto aside for 10 min. so the wasabi flavor can develop.
Pat the fresh scallops with a paper towel to dry. Lightly salt and pepper. Heat a saute pan to medium heat and add about 1 Tbsp. butter. When it is slightly browned, add scallops. Sear approximately 4-5 minutes per side - depending on thickness. Do not overcook. Serve on top of noodles, spaghetti squash, or rice. Drizzle with pesto.