Scallop & Bacon Dashi Grits
Okay, listen to me. This recipe probably has some ingredients you don’t have laying around the pantry and it probably looks complicated. But it’s so, so easy! No one step is that difficult and the whole thing comes together in about 40 minutes. The end result is gorgeous, complex, and impressive. We’ve had this for dinner but the bacon and eggs are also very brunch-friendly.
I came across a version of this recipe in David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook. He is such a freaking genius - never in a million years would I have thought to make a dashi with bacon. And cook grits in the broth with soy sauce. I’ve made traditional dashi before for a miso broth bowl and if you’d like a primer on dashi, take a look at that linked post. Like all dashi, the key ingredient is kombu or fried seaweed. You can find kombu online, any Asian grocery store, or a place like Whole Foods. A little bit of kombu goes a long way and if you leave it in the hot water for too long, it will become bitter. I’ve made some bad dashi in my life but if you follow the instructions below, you should be in good shape.
I prefer a poached egg over this dish but if you don’t want to fiddle with that, a fried egg with a runny yolk work well. And if scallops are hard to come by or not fresh, shrimp works great too!
1 cup corn grits (not quick grits)
2 cups water
2x3 inch kombu
6 slices of thick-cut bacon
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp light soy sauce
8-12 scallops (2-3 per person, depending on the size)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
4 cloves of garlic, diced
4 sprigs of spring onions, whites diced and greens sliced
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Make the dashi. Run the piece of kombu under water for a few seconds; do not run the white salt off, simply hold the kombu under water. Place the kombu in a pot with the 2 cups of water and bring to a low simmer and let the kombu steep for 10 mins. Then, discard the kombu, add the two slices of bacon, and bring the pot to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a medium and let the bacon gently boil for 30 mins. Then, discard the bacon and set the broth aside. This broth can be made in larger quantities and ahead of time!
If needed, reheat the broth and bring it to a low boil and add the cup of grits. Whisk constantly for 5 minutes. Then, add in the soy sauce and some black pepper and mix well. Lower the heat to medium low and cook for 20-25 mins, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add the butter and if needed, some salt. Whisk well and set aside.
Next, make the crispy bacon. Dice the bacon into small pieces and toss onto a heated stainless steel pan. Cook for 5 mins and let the bacon fat render. As the bacon cooks, add in the garlic and whites of the spring onions. Toss briefly to crispy everything up for another minute and be careful not to burn. Remove the cooked bacon to a bowl.
Pat dry the scallops on both sides. In the same pan as the bacon, add half of the grapeseed oil and heat until you see some smoke. Add the scallops to the pan and make sure they are not touching each other - if necessary, do this in two batches. Salt lightly with salt and pepper and cook on both sides for 3 mins.
Poach one egg per person. Bring a pot of water to a low boil and salt generously. Crack the egg into a bowl. Then, stir the water with a fork and create a vortex - quickly, add the egg into that vortex. Cook for 3-4 mins and remove from the water with a slotted spoon and into a clean bowl.
Lastly, assemble! Place the grits in the serving bowl and add the scallops, bacon, and egg on top. Sprinkle with the sliced greens from the green onions. Enjoy!