Pecan-Crusted Scallops Win Seafood Cook-off

Dish to be featured at Trio Restaurant, or try out the recipes at home

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Five teams of high school culinary students from around the state competed in the third annual cook-off featuring local seafood.

Pecan-Crusted Scallops - 2017 Rhode Island Seafood Cook-off

Pecan-crusted scallops won the competition for Chariho

Pecan-crusted scallops over an apple salad took the prize at the 2017 Rhode Island Seafood Cook-off for the team from Chariho Area Career and Technical Center. The dish will be on the Trio Restaurant menu in Narragansett May 8–14.

That dish competed against pan-seared scallops with chowder sauce from Warwick Area Career and Technical Center, grilled scallops on top of a mint pea puree with cumin crème fraîche and toasted pistachios from the Regional Career and Technical Center at Coventry High School, scallop fritters with Newburg aioli from Cranston Area Career and Technical Center, and margarita scallops from William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School.

The event centers on seafood that is landed in Rhode Island and seasonally available. Previous cook-offs have featured calamari and mussels. This year, an audience of 85 attendees tasted each scallop dish and scored it on flavor, creativity, and marketability.

Casey Riley, chief operating officer for Newport Harbor Corporation, one of the event’s sponsors, announced the winning team and commended all the students for “putting it all on the line” in the competition. He said that he recognized that some of them were nervous, adding, “It takes a lot of courage to cook something for someone.”

The scallops for the event were provided by Wild Atlantic Seafood of Wakefield and certified sustainable, which owner Chris Roebuck is an important distinction. While fisheries in the Northeast are sustainably managed, he said, “We’re competing with seafood on a world market” and not all countries operate by the same standards.

Ken Ayars, chief of agriculture for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, said that the state will soon be unveiling its first-ever food strategy and that supporting local seafood will be a significant part of that.

“Galilee and Newport are major fishing ports in Rhode Island,” he said, adding that the state owns piers in both places and rents space to fishermen. “We’ve been able to invest in the natural resources economy … those are not condos, those are not pleasure boats … We’re committed to those spaces being for the industry going forward.”

RECIPES

Pecan Crusted Scallops
* May 8–14 Try at Trio Restaurant in Narragansett May 8–14 *

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Chowder Sauce

Scallop Fritters with Newburg Aioli and Microgreen Salad

Grilled Scallops on top of a Chilled Mint Pea Puree with Cumin Crème Fraiche and Toasted Pistachios

 

Sponsors of the 2017 Rhode Island Seafood Cook-off are the Chariho Area Career & Technical Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education Program in the URI Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, NHC-Newport Restaurant Group, and Wild Atlantic Seafood.

— Monica Allard Cox | Rhode Island Sea Grant Communications Director