Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oscar Noms #4: The Seashell Network

For my play on The Social Network, I wanted to make something that comes in a seashell, so yet again Jenn Shaggy's Veganize This! cookbook offered the perfect recipe: Coconut Vinegar-Cured Tofu Scallops with Lemongrass-Basil Cream Sauce and Cilantro-Garlic Coconut Rice. Wow! Is that a recipe title to get your mouth watering, or what?! As good as the recipe sounds, it tasted even better. Seriously, this dish rocked our world. I wanted to lick the plate clean...and I did.

Disclaimer: this is not a quick recipe to make. There's nothing too difficult, but there are many steps. First, you need to marinate the "scallops" overnight in Jenn's seafood marinade. Then you still have to marinate them a few more hours in the coconut vinegar marinade. Then you sear the scallops, make the Cilantro-Garlic Coconut Rice (which I fortunately was able to do in my rice cooker), and then make and reduce the Lemongrass-Basil Cream Sauce. It was a lot of work. But it was oh so worth it.

I don't even know where to start describing the amazing medley of flavors that are bursting out of this dish. The rice, made with chopped fresh cilantro, slices of garlic, and coconut milk comes out so wonderfully creamy with just a hint of sweetness from the coconut milk. In fact, I think I might always make my rice with coconut milk from now on. The Lemongrass-Basil Cream Sauce is heavenly. It starts with a saute of shallots and garlic, then you add vermouth (I love booze in recipes), then lemongrass, basil, lemon juice, MimicCreme, and No-Chicken broth. It seems like a lot of strong flavors, but they all blend so beautifully into a restaurant-worthy sauce. And the scallops - I got such a kick out of cutting out the perfectly round scallop shapes from the tofu (I used a 1 1/2" round cutter like you use for cookies or hors d'oeuvres). They had a very pleasant "sea" flavor that was not too fishy, and the fresh herbs, coconut vinegar, and spices from the marinade gave them a very bright, light quality. There were so many layers of flavors when all was combined, it was like a symphony on a plate.

This could also make a great appetizer or first course for a dinner party. You could easily serve just a couple of the scallops with the sauce over some seaweed salad in a small, shell-like dish, like so:

I have leaned quite heavily on Veganize This! for my Oscar Noms series (and there's one more recipe still to come!), but if you haven't bought it yet (Why haven't you bought it? What's wrong with you?) you can at least find this recipe here on The GirlieGirl Army site. This is a sexy, sexy recipe. Make it now!


  1. Holy moly, this looks crazy good! I would definitely only have the energy to make this for a special occasion, but it kind of makes me hope a special occasion is coming up soon!

  2. that looks damn good & love that last picture, it's so little mermaid-y!

  3. these foods are to die for