Suddenly, the Accidental Locavore has been hearing a lot about finger limes. For something that wasn’t even on my radar, all of a sudden, they’re everywhere. When Fresh Direct had them as a President’s Pick recently, I decided to take them for a test drive.
If you live in a more citrus-friendly place (almost anywhere south of here), you’re probably thinking, finger limes, no big deal. Fine. For the rest of us, they’re kind of cool. Small and in various shades of red/burgundy/brown/green, finger limes have very distinct flesh, resembling grains of caviar (except prettier, being the palest pink). And treating the pulp like caviar is a great way to serve it.
The Locavore decided to use them as a garnish for seared sea scallops on sliced Yukon Gold Potatoes in a beurre blanc sauce. This, with some sautéed spinach, fed 2. Timing is a little tight, but you could do what I did and just keep all the components in a warm oven until you’re ready to assemble.
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into ½” slices (peeling optional). You need 8 slices
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used 2 tbsp white balsamic, 1 of sherry)
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in tablespoon-sized pieces
- Salt & white pepper (if you have it, it’s just for looks, otherwise use black)
- 8 sea scallops
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or a mix of butter & oil)
- 5-6 finger limes, cut off the end and gently squeeze the pellets into a small dish
Boil the potatoes in a medium pan of water with salt added, over medium-high heat until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, pat dry and set aside.
Boil the vinegar, water and shallots in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add cream, reduce heat to low. Whisk in one piece of butter at a time, until they’re all melted and combined. Strain sauce, pressing on shallots, to get as much liquid out of them. Return to pan and place in a warm (as low as it goes) oven to keep warm.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the potato slices and cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes a side. Put on a plate and keep warm in the oven
Pat dry the scallops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour, shaking off excess. Add the scallops to the pan that the potatoes were in and cook until golden brown and just opaque in the center about 1 ½ minutes a side.
Pour the beurre blanc sauce on two plates. Place the potatoes on the sauce and top each with a scallop. Garnish with the finer lime “caviar”, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: The finger limes added a nice citrus crunch to the scallops. It was like the crunch you get from an inside-out sushi roll. I’m not a caviar fan, so this was a great way of getting that nice tiny crunch without the fishy taste (and not so budget-busting). The scallops were perfectly cooked and went well with the beurre blanc sauce. I thought about adding a little lime zest to the beurre blanc, but got lazy. Not sure the potatoes were essential and if I did it again, might use a more starchier potato. This was a very fancy looking dinner, (that tasted as good as it looked) without being too fussy or time-consuming.
Frank’s verdict: “Excellent!” He would have poured some of the sauce over the top of the scallops and spread out the lime a little more (he didn’t know how sticky it was!). Otherwise he was a happy eater!
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