Because I’m not exaggerating. The Heritage Food & Drink seared scallop is one of the tastiest bivalve dishes I’ve ever eaten. It’s so good that I had to write this immediately after eating it, so life-changing (and life-affirming) that it necessitated a first-person appeal to your tastebuds. But look, if this photo by the talented Jamey Price doesn’t sell you on this thing, I’m not sure I can. I can’t explain to you how precision-browned this little fella was, or how beautiful its plate was from all the other angles.
I’m tragically unable to communicate the melodious juxtaposition of easy-to-eat fennel and apple purées with the deliciously onomatopoeic crunch of sunchoke chips. Even with my help, you’ll never properly know what it was like to cut into the perfect, pan-seared warmth of this lightly seasoned scallop, or the excitement I felt gathering up bits of the dainty bed of candied fennel and compressed apples. Of course, you could just head down to Waxhaw and try anything on Paul Verica’s brilliantly amorphous menu at Heritage Food & Drink. Some food simply transcends our art; some dishes make words passé.
A Sommelier Knows Best
by Cameron Dibble
Scallops are thick, rich medallions that—like it or not—serve as shortwave broadcasters for the things you cook and drink with them. Butter dovetails out into lush, creamy velvet under them; a once tart lemon sheds its zest and puckers the mouth gently with juicy, semi-sweet succulence. A caveat, though, if you’re considering pairing a red: The once less palpable, bitter acids in red wine get drawn out into the spotlight and paint your lips and gums with a dull, lingering flavor not entirely unlike over-chewed bubblegum. So give the apples some of their own medicine with an inexpensive Chardonnay from the Mâconnais sub-region of Southern Burgundy. Ply free the fennel seed from the bitter pad at the back of your tongue with a smidge of residual sugar while breaking down the sunchokes’ rich weight with just enough simple, Granny Smith-esque malic acid. The best part of the very safe, affordable, and super trendy Macon Chardonnay is that it does exactly what it’s meant to do for scallop: Let it be delicious, as nature intended it to be.