Monday, June 13, 2011

Spring Scallop Tacos with Strawberry Salsa

Although summer has been slow to arrive here in Wisconsin, and we're growing impatient for the bountiful produce that promises to show up at the farmer's market ANY DAY NOW, we're making a real effort to enjoy the best of the season.

Just take a look at the delicious scallop tacos we threw together last weekend -- grilled sea scallops on a bed of fresh cucumber slaw and topped with a deliciously sweet & spicy strawberry salsa.

It was a deliciously light entree, and one of those dinners perfect for throwing together on a sweltering summer evening when it's simply too hot to turn on the stove.

It was also uncommonly delicious.  The strawberry salsa, which contained scallions, lime juice, and a bit of bite from jalapeno peppers, perfectly complemented the buttery scallops, while the shredded cucumbers (which had been drained and tossed with cilantro), provided a crisp, fresh crunch.

I was particularly proud of the fact that a significant percentage of the ingredients to make this dish were both local and seasonal...  with one pesky exception.  The seafood.

It can be difficult being a locavore if you're a seafood lover living in Wisconsin.  For, while we do have our fair share of lake-sourced fish -- including Walleye, Northern Pike, Trout, Bluegills, and Perch --  there are some items blatantly missing from the locally sourced fish list.

Sea scallops are at the very top of my list.  These delicious bi-valves are meaty, clean-tasting and uncommonly sweet.  Even better, in most cases scallops are a good choice when it comes to sustainable seafood.  But, there is nowhere in Wisconsin to buy a locally raised scallop.

So, what's a gal to do?
For a while, as we initially made the transition to eating more local foods, I avoided eating seafood that I couldn't source from "home".  But, after giving the situation a great deal more thought, we've since changed our tune.

When it comes to our local eating philosophy, it's probably important to clarify that we are hardly purists or perfectionists.  The fact is, MINDFUL eating is really more of what we espouse.  While we pay attention to where our food comes from, we also care about but how it's been produced, and the impact its having on not only our bodies & health, but the world around us.  We are responsible for the foods that we allow into our bodies, and we make decisions accordingly.  Likewise, we emphasize a way of living that is clearly sustainable for us all year round (not just during the summer months).

If we have the choice between eating a locally grown apple and one imported from Washington State, we'll be most likely to opt for the local apple.  Likewise, if we can find local sources for meat, dairy, and cheese, we'll be unlikely to bother with purchasing products from outside of Wisconsin.  However, the fact also remains that there are highly nutritious and delicious foods that  it makes sense to import because we can’t grow them here.  This list includes items like bananas, pineapple, coffee, coconut, and the like.  For us, it also includes seafood.

We choose to purchase scallops every now and again, and we don't feel badly about it. We choose sustainable sources and attempt to support local fish mongers whenever possible.  Most of all, we make sure to take the time to enjoy the food we're eating.

I should mention that we made this dish again last night for company, and we substituted thinly sliced red cabbage for the cucumber.  Also delicious -- and I really liked the additional color & crunch!

Spring Scallop Tacos
Strawberry Salsa


  1. You are the most creative duo around! Scallop tacos? Strawberry salsa? Brilliant. And I love the sustainable and local focus to BURP. And the mindful eating part! BTW, I got the Monterey Bay Aquarium app for my iPhone and I can check out the good and bad fish choices when I'm out and about. It's great.

  2. I make a similar salsa, but with mangoes instead of strawberries and serve it over grilled or broiled halibut. I have a deep down love for sea scallops and strawberries, so this will definitely get made this summer. Goodness, I want it now - looks so refreshing...and it's HOT here now.

  3. That looks & sounds wonderful. We are on the same page with eating locally. There are just some things that can't be sourced in MN so, we just try to find the best version from somewhere else

  4. So creative! Can't wait to give this a try. I was so enamored with your cranberry salsa... and now you've done it again with strawberries.

  5. Scallops and fruit are such a creative combination...lovely!

  6. i would never have thought of putting strawberries in a salsa, but I can totally get with it, and I'm wondering if slightly underripe berries might be best? (I ask because that's all we have growing in our garden right now) So, the question: did you slice the scallops into the taco or put them in whole? If the latter, how were they to eat? Deliciously messy, I'd guess.

  7. Jonny - Deliciously messy, indeed. We didn't bother slicing our scallops, but that could be a good idea for easier eating!

    We used ripe berries for this salsa, and it was delicious (since the sweetness balanced the lime/salt & onions). But, underripe berries might give a pleasantly tart flavor.

  8. Whoa, that strawberry salsa is so inventive! Wish I had know about recipes like this before I threw away all my extra strawberries.

  9. I love your recipe. Thanks a lot for the inspiration. This will be on my to cook list.


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