Grocery shopping during a pandemic requires some meal planning flexibility. However, my wife was determined to find ingredients she needed for her scallops au gratin recipe. The problem was she would get one item but not find another before the one she did find needed to be used. It was becoming quite the scavenger hunt. Lucky for me, she finally succeeded and I was able to pair some hard cider with her wonderful salad and cider infused scallops au gratin. It was majestic.
The salad I call Red, White, and Blue, which is a strawberry and blueberry spinach salad with goat cheese. It had homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing on it. The scallops were made with my Japanese Sunrise hard cider but I paired it with my Pippin Magic. We added my latest sourdough cider bread experiment, breadsticks petite. These are simply my normal hard cider sourdough breadsticks divided into 25-26 gram sticks versus my normal 75-76 gram versions. They get a little crunchier. You can find my bread recipe in my grilled cheese post but instead of making loaves, I make breadsticks. You can always split the difference and make half into a loaf and the rest into breadsticks. Here’s how they looked.
Let’s check out the salad and scallop dishes before we explore the cider.
Red, White, and Blue Salad
Servings: 4 Serving
6-7 Cups Spinach
2 Cups Strawberries, Sliced
1 Cup Blueberries
3/4 Cup Roasted Pecans
4 Ounces Goat Cheese
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 Tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
- Place the pecans on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and roast 8-10 minutes at 350F. This can also be done ahead of time. Store in a sealed container in the cabinet.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients and set aside.
- In an extra large mixing bowl, toss the spinach, strawberries, blueberries, and pecans with the dressing.
- Place in serving bowls, add crumbles of goat cheese and serve.
Scallops au Gratin
Servings: 4-6 Servings
1 1/2 Pounds Sea Scallops
1/4 Cup Cream Cheese, Softened
1/4 Cup Hard Cider
1 Large Lemon, Juiced and Zested
1/2 Tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp Fresh Tarragon, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
1/8 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place scallops in a 9 x 9 ceramic baking dish.
- Whisk together the cream cheese, hard cider, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, tarragon, Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour this mixture onto the scallops, top with a fresh grinding of pepper and let them this sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Turn on broiler and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Pippin Magic Hard Cider
Pippin Magic is part of my “Magic” series of ciders where I ferment the hard cider with peels from more tannin rich apples. In this case, it was Arkansas Black apple peels with Newtown Pippin apples. The goal is a tannin rich hard cider with a nice amber hue. I would call it a traditional or farmhouse type hard cider except that I carbonated this cider more than most traditional English farmhouse ciders. The recipe for it is here. This hard cider is dry with some acid and a fair amount of phenolic and tannin elements. The carbonation actual helps to lighten it and cleanse the palate.
However, you can find similar hard ciders at your local wine, bottle, or liquor store. For alternatives, I picked ciders with a good tannin base and some carbonation. If you find other hard ciders that would work well, please post them!
Cidre Curvée Nectar by Julien Thurel
Dry Organic by Dunkertons
Dabinett & Kingston Black by Whitewood Cider Co.
Poiré de Normandie by Clos des Citots
Meditations by Stoic
Did you enjoy this article? Follow me so you can get more ideas on pairing hard ciders with food as well as ideas and tips for making and experiencing hard cider. Also, if you want to learn more about making hard cider, get my book. It covers all things hard cider as well as food and cider pairings like above.
It’s that easy. No, I won’t sell your email or blitz you with a bunch of request to buy things. You will simply get a link to my articles and an easy method to communicate with me if you have questions or need help with a batch of cider. Thanks for reading, stay safe, enjoy cider!