So this Memorial Day, I meditated on the season change and cooked three dishes: one goodbye to spring and two greetings to summer.
1. Sea scallop ceviche with fresh herbs.
I sliced the scallops very thinly and marinated them in a mixture of olive oil and fresh orange, lemon, and lime juices. I then placed the scallops with a little marinade on a bed of parsely, taragon, and micro basil, which we have been growing at home. This dish worked very well with a Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, which has grassy and citrus notes to pick up the flavors of the herbs and marinade.
2. Grilled octopus on grilled bread
Central Market is selling Chinese octopus for around $5 per pound. It is amazing that a seafood delicacy this flavorful and this exotic is so cheap.
The flavor of grilled octopus is unique. It is a very clean-tasting seafood -- more so than even tuna. But on the grill it picks up the smoky flavor of charred flesh that reminds me of a good brisket.
The trick is getting the octopus tender. I simmered my octopus with crushed garlic and a bay leaf in water for over an hour. I then grilled it with a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano. It was some of the most tender octopus meat that I have tried.
3. Grilled Saturn peaches / goat cheese / honey
Peach season has begun. Most Texas varieties do not ripen until July, but stores are beginning to carry "cling peach" varieties -- the kind whose flesh clings to the pits. At Central Market, I only found California peaches. I tried a Saturn or donut peach. It has a flat shape like Saturn with its rings or a donut. It is a sweet peach, with nutty overtones. Although it did not give me the same joy as a Texas peach, it is a good way to start the season.
I prefer the flavor of peaches barely brushed with butter and grilled. I served this saturn peach with a little goat cheese and a drizzling of local honey.