When people look for the perfect beverage to pair with food, many may assume wine earns that distinction. But author John Holl believes there’s a perfect beer for every meal, and even suggests numerous pairings in his book, “The American Craft Beer Cook Book” (Storey). For the following recipe for Grilled Diver Scallops and Fall Vegetable Shish Kebabs with Hazelnut Brown Butter, Holl recommends Lagunitas Pils, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Samuel Adams Noble Pils, Saranac Bohemian Pilsner, or Summit Pilsener.
Grilled Diver Scallops and Fall Vegetable Shish Kebabs with Hazelnut Brown Butter
Makes 4 servings
12 large fresh diver scallops
4 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and diced into 11/2-inch cubes
4 large parsnips, peeled and diced into 11/2-inch cubes
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 11/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 12-ounce can Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, or similar beer
8 skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 1 hour before grilling)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1. Remove the scallops from the refrigerator to come up to room temperature. Prepare a medium fire in a gas or charcoal grill. If using charcoal, arrange the coals in a thin layer to evenly control the heat.
2. Combine the fennel, parsnips and butternut squash in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Transfer the vegetables to a cast-iron skillet (or another grill-safe pan), season with salt and pepper, and place the pan on the grill. Cook, with the lid closed, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are a light golden brown, about 25 minutes.
3. Remove the skillet from the grill and deglaze with 1/4 cup of the beer. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and let cool for 5 minutes. Reserve any drippings in the skillet for later.
4. Using two skewers for each shish kebab, alternately thread the scallops, fennel, parsnips, and butternut squash onto the skewers. You should use three scallops on each set of skewers. Using two skewers for each kebab will prevent the ingredients from spinning on the grill.
5. Season the kebabs with salt and pepper and lightly coat with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Grill the kebabs, turning once, until you’ve reached the desired level of doneness for the scallops, about 5 minutes per side for medium. Set aside and tent with foil while making the sauce.
6. Return the skillet to the grill; add the butter, hazelnuts and remaining 11/4 cups beer to the vegetable drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and lightly browned.
7. Transfer the kebabs to a serving plate, pour the brown butter sauce over the scallops and serve immediately.