Know Your Cuts of Meat?

(the actual clip I wanted starts at 1:15, so feel free to skip ahead)

It was Meat Week in lab this week.

My group got to cook scallops, which I was pretty excited about, because I LOVE scallops.  They’re one of the few fish I will eat (do scallops count as fish? I’m suddenly unsure.  I should probably know that…let’s say they’re one of the few types of seafood I will eat).

If you’re wondering, I also like lobster and shrimp – if it’s been cooked.  Raw shrimp/shrimp cocktail? Not so much.

So, yes, I love scallops.  And our recipe was for bacon wrapped scallops, which was even better.

I’ll say it again:

Bacon.  Wrapped.  Scallops.

Yeah, baby!

The only hitch was that I have actually never cooked bacon before (scallops, yes, bacon, no. Go figure).  This is because at my house we use precooked turkey bacon that need only be microwaved to be crispy and delicious.  Normally I wouldn’t have been afraid to just dive in, but our professor talked at length during class about how another lab group a few semesters ago (in our group’s very kitchen) started a grease fire and lit the kitchen up.  There’s still a stain on the ceiling above our stove.  This, as you can imagine, made me just a tiny bit paranoid about cooking bacon for the first time in the lab kitchen.

Luckily, I am part of a lab group that has two other people in it, and my lab partner D is a pro at bacon.  She even knew to use this fancy spatter guard.  I probably would have just ended up with grease all over me.  And potentially fire all over the stove.

Of course, D also is the kind of genius who makes way more bacon than we actually needed for the recipe, so that we and our other partner A could snack on some whilst we cooked the scallops.

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015 Our teacher gave us this recipe, so I don’t know the actual source.

The scallops themselves were completely frozen.  Like little bricks.  This was a problem, seeing as they take about an hour to defrost (they were the big bay scallops, not the tiny little sea scallops), and we had to cook them and have them ready for tasting before the end of lab.  The way you defrost scallops (shrimp, too) is to put them in a bowl with really cold water (or ice water) and wait for them the thaw.  Our group made the unfortunate decision to try and speed things up by using warm water instead. Don’t make that mistake if you make them, mmk?

While they were defrosting, we cooked the bacon.

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015

The rest of the recipe is pretty self explanatory, so I won’t go on.  If we had defrosted the scallops correctly, and if we had used some seasonings (which the recipe did not call for, so it wasn’t our fault they were a little bland), they would have been fantastic.  Cooking the outside of meat at high heat before cooking them in the oven (aka searing) is a pretty cool technique.  I always knew it produced deliciousness, but learned this week that the reason why is that it locks in all the moisture, keeping the meat very tender, rather than cooking without searing, which allows the moisture to escape through the permeable skin.

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015 Scallops searing in bacon grease.

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015 Scallops searing in bacon grease.

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015 Scallops with the seared side up. YUM.

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015 Scallops with the seared side up. YUM.

The other groups made steak, shrimp and salmon, chicken cacciatore, pork roast, and chicken liver.

The first five I’ve had before (plus the scallops), but chicken liver is one I’ve never tried.

I was not excited.

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015

Somehow, it tasted like pennies.  Go figure.  The liver stores iron, so I guess that could be why.

Far, far weirder than the chicken liver, though, were the crickets.  Apparently cricket flour is now a thing?

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015

(c) EmilyStarBlog 2015

I don’t care how much PB&J you cover it up with – it’s still crickets.  D and A both tried them – and A tried just the protein bar, but the actual dead, baked cricket.

Ew.

I’ll take bacon-wrapped scallops over crispy cricket any day.

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