Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sea Scallops Two Ways- Scallop Ceviche And Scallop Gratin


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Every now and then I look back at a few of my past recipes and maybe give them a face-lift. I decided to do that here with the beautiful sea scallops.

Making two completely different dishes using this one ingredient. If you remember, my original Sea Scallop Gratin was made as an entrée. As delicious as that dish was, I wanted to tweak it slightly. This time both of my scallop dishes are appetizers, Sea Scallops Two Ways- Ceviche And Gratin.

They’re delicious, great for entertaining, and simple to make. The Ceviche is a gluten-free dish. If you choose to use a gluten-free Panko, the gratin can be too. The specific change I wanted to make is in how I used the topping for this gratin. In my original recipe, the topping totally covered the top of the scallops. Even though the topping is an essential part of this dish, I wanted the scallops to peek through a bit more, allowing them to caramelize on the top. It’s really about the balance between the topping and the scallops themselves.

Anyway, let’s talk about my fresh mango and cucumber ceviche. I’m putting my spin on a Peruvian style Ceviche. They have these large popcorn kernels in Peru that you just can’t seem to get here. I just bought some corn nuts! You’ve seen those salty large corn kernels they sell in convenience stores. I just sprinkle of few on top of each serving. This gives the Ceviche great texture and crunch.

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When you’re ready to work with sea scallops,  there is a side-muscle on each scallop that needs to be removed. You don’t want to eat it. The pictures above help to illustrate what I mean. You also want to always pat the scallops dry using a paper towel to remove any excess moisture before continuing on with your recipes.

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Marinating seafood in citrus is very common in Latin cuisine and a great way to experience fresh scallops. If you decide to make these two appetizers, start with the Ceviche. You need to get the scallops cleaned and quartered, and submerged, into the citrus marinade.

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My Scallop Gratin is just as easy to make. I’ve made some slight changes from my original recipe. I found less to be more in the presentation of the Scallop Gratin that makes a big difference in the final dish. I’ll explain in a minute.

It doesn’t matter if you’re making them as a main course, using larger gratin dishes, or as an appetizer using smaller ones. The method is still the same. This time I’m not completely covering the scallops with the topping. I’m letting the scallops to peek through the topping allowing them to caramelize. The balance between the two works.

Scallop Gratin:
Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Equipment: 2 baking sheets and 6 small grain dishes
Yields: 6 servings
Cooking Time 10 to 13 minutes

1 pound of cleaned, dried and quartered sea scallops
6 tablespoons of dry white wine
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 a red onion, minced (substitute minced shallot)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tablespoons of finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon of finely chopped basil leaves
zest of a lemon
2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of Pernod (anise-flavored liqueur)
2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 1/2 heaping cups of Panko (or gluten-free Panko) bread crumbs
6 tablespoons of olive oil
6 wedges of lemon to squeeze over the top of each dish when baked

Take 6 small gratin dishes, place on two baking sheets. Equally divided a pound of the cleaned, dried, and quartered scallops into each dish. Next, add one tablespoon of dry white wine to each of the dishes.

In a large bowl, add one stick of softened unsalted butter. To the softened butter add minced garlic, finely minced red onion (or minced shallot), crushed red pepper flakes (optional), fresh finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, fresh finely chopped basil, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, Pernod (anise-flavored  liqueur), Kosher salt, black pepper, Panko (or gluten-free Panko) breadcrumbs, and olive oil. Mix all these ingredients together to make the topping.

Using a spoon, equally divided the topping among the six gratin dishes but not completely covering the scallops. This will allow the scallops to caramelize better, plus I really like the presentation better.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Cook for 10 to 13 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over each one of the Scallop Gratin and serve immediately.

Scallop Ceviche:
Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 3 1/2 to 4 hours

1/2 pound of Sea Scallops, quartered
5 limes, juiced
1/2 a red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 an English cucumber, diced and seeded
2 fresh mangos, diced
2 avocados, sliced
1/2 cup of red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup of yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup of orange bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 to 4 fresh cilantro leaves per glass
corn nuts to garnish. 4 to 5 corn nuts per glass

First, place the quartered scallops in a bowl (that has a lid to fit). Add the diced bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, Kosher salt, olive oil and fresh lime juice to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together. Make sure all the ingredients are submerged in the lime juice. Place the lid on and refrigerate for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Every half hour goes in a stir the ingredients. Then press all the ingredients down into the lime juice so they’re completely submerged.  When the scallops are completely opaque in color, they are ready.

At this point, slice the avocado spritzing them with a little lime juice so they stay bright green. Next, dice the mango and cucumber. Have 4 glasses or whatever you choose to serve your ceviche in ready.  Take the Ceviche out of the frig. Using a spoon, place an equal amount of the scallops with the diced bell peppers, jalapenos, and onions in each glass.

Add to each one equally, the diced mango, and cucumber. Garnish with avocado, cilantro leaves, and corn nuts. Place the glasses on a sheet tray and refrigerate until ready to serve. Lou Hamel Scallops Two Ways

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Gluten-Free Zucchini And Cremini Mushroom Gratin




Gluten-Free Zucchini And Cremini Mushroom Gratin are the easiest and the most elegant looking appetizers to serve to your guests. Everyone gets their own individual dish. That always seems to make friends and family feel extra special.

Whenever I make a tomato sauce, I always seem to have plenty left over. There’s just two of us so I’m always trying to think up different ways to use any leftover sauce. That’s how this dish came to be. This recipe can be made easy enough if you don’t have leftover sauce, use your favorite jarred marinara sauce.


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In a bowl is my leftover tomato sauce. If you don’t have any leftover homemade tomato sauce, substitute your favorite jarred sauce.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes, (the slicing and sautèeing of the vegetables)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: 3 gratin dishes, 1 rimmed sheet pan, 12-inch sauté pan
Yields: 3 servings

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil for sautèeing mushrooms
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
3/4 cup homemade marinara sauce (substitute your favorite jarred marinara sauce)
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (for seasoning zucchini and squash)
1 teaspoon black pepper (for seasoning zucchini and squash
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup half and half
1 large egg
3/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  plus 3 tablespoons for the top of each gratin
1/4 cup of freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
In a large sautépan over medium-high heat, carefully melt the unsalted butter with the olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and fresh thyme leaves.

Sautè the mushrooms, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they’re brown and tender. Only then season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Note: Wait to salt the mushrooms until they browned completely. This process allows them to brown and not steam from the water they release.

Slice 2 zucchinis and 1 yellow squash about 1/2 an inch thick. Place them into a bowl and sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Using the same sautèpan, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Give the oil a chance to get hot but not where it’s smoking.

Arrange the sliced zucchini and squash in one layer in the pan, do not to overcrowd the veggies. This needs to be done in two separate batches. They will shallow fry for about 2 minutes per side. Do this just long enough for the veggies to soften and get some nice color on them before they go into the gratin dishes.

Again, have another large plate lined with a paper towel ready for the sautéed veggies once they’re finished cooking to drain off any extra grease.

While that’s working, go ahead and process the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a food processor.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl add the ricotta, egg, half and half, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley,  3/4 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a pinch each of Kosher salt and black pepper, mix to combine.  If you are using leftover marinara or are using jarred, have it ready.

In each of 3 gratin dishes, place a layer of the zucchini and squash. Next, and a thin layer of the marinara sauce. To that, add the sautèed mushrooms. Sprinkle a little of the reserved grated cheese on top of the mushrooms. Next spoon on a third of the ricotta cheese mixture.

Finally, top each gratin with a tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Place the dishes on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes. When the Zucchini And Cremini Mushroom Gratins come out of the oven, garnish with the parsley.

Serve hot.

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Scalloped Potato Gratin

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Making a gratin is so easy and so incredibly delicious that you’ll want to make them all the time. The flavor options are endless. You can add any type of veggies you like. My favorite is to add some Poblano peppers that have been roasted, seeded, then diced.  They give the dish a slightly smokey flavor. Today, I’m making them with thinly sliced onions. Let me show you a few simple steps to making a potato gratin.

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First comes the prep. I have a casserole dish that I generously buttered. Second, I have one large onion that I’ve sliced very thinly and set on a plate. Third, I have 3 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes that I’ve cooked until just fork tender, cooling on a plate. Let me explain, I placed the potatoes in a large pot, covered them with cold water, brought them up to a boil. I let them continue to boil, on med heat, for around 15-20 minutes. I then take a knife and stick the knife into one of the potatoes. If there is still some resistance removing the knife, turn the heat off, and let the potatoes sit in the hot water for another 5-7 minutes and they should be perfectly cooked. It really all depends on how large the potatoes are.

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In a saucepan on medium-low heat, I start to melt some unsalted butter. Once that’s melted I add in flour, Kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and ground smoked paprika. I whisk the spices and flour into the butter until the flour becomes clumpy and has absorbed all the butter. To that, I add in half and half. The liquid will take on a pink hue from the cayenne and paprika. Continuously whisking the half-and-half in with the flour mixture, the sauce will thicken, once it just starts to bubble. You’ll know when the thickness is right when it coats the back of a spoon.

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Off the heat, I add in some fresh chopped chives and freshly grated cheese to the sauce. Here I’m adding a mixture of grated white cheddar and some yellow cheddar for color. I’m saving some back for the top. this way the potato gratin will have a nice golden crust. I make sure to add the cheese in slowly to the sauce, mixing it with a wooden spoon, until all the cheese has melted.

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Next, along with the onions, I sliced earlier, I thinly slice the cooked potatoes. Now it’s time to layer the dish. First, I place a layer of the potatoes topped with half of the sliced onions. I add a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper to the first layer and then pour over half of the cheesy sauce. Then I repeat doing a second layer the same way, finishing with the rest of the cheese sauce. I sprinkle on the reserved grated cheese mixture, and on top of that, I also add a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan. I have some fresh finely chopped flat-leaf parsley that I sprinkle to the top before placing the dish into the oven, This bakes uncovered at 350 degrees F. for one hour until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes (includes cooking time for boiling potatoes)
Equipment: 1-quart casserole dish
Baking Time: 1 hour at 350 degrees F.uncovered
Yields: 6 servings
1 2-pound bag of baby Yukon gold potatoes, sliced, 5 cups
1 large sweet onion sliced very thin
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of half and half
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3/4 cup of grated white cheddar
1/4 cup of grated Colby Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated Colby Jack cheese to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

In a small saucepan, melt butter, then add in the spices with the exception of black pepper, followed by blending in flour with a whisk. Next, add in the milk products. Next, add in the black pepper. I like to see the black flecks throughout the milk so I know that it will be distributed evenly. Over medium-low heat, continue whisking the milk with the roux until the mixture comes up to a boil and sauce becomes thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until completely combined. Next, add in fresh chopped chives. In a buttered casserole dish start layering with half the sliced potatoes then, half of the sliced onions. Pour half the cheese mixture over the potatoes and onion. Repeat this step once more finishing with the other half of the cheese sauce. Top with the reserved grated Colby Jack, then the Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350-degree F. oven, uncovered for 1 hour until the top is bubbly and golden brown. Once the dish comes out of the oven, I like to let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. This gives the dish a chance to set before cutting.

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