My mother gave me the cookbook Charcuterie for my birthday. She knows me so well!
The book is mostly recipes, but also contains a chapter on making charcuterie from scratch. I’m in awe of people who make prosciutto and pancetta, but I live in too humid of a region in the U.S. to hang hams in my basement.
The recipes are wonderful, mostly focusing on Spanish, French, and Italian cured meats. The first recipe that caught my attention was a simple skewer of scallops and chorizo. Simple yet total perfection!
If you can’t get your hands on Spanish chorizo, check out my favorite website, La Tienda, for chorizo and all other Spanish foods. If you scroll through chorizo, and you will discover so many different varieties – some for slicing, some for cooking, some for grilling.
The recipe in the book just referred to cubes of chorizo, but I got carried away and purchased Ibérico de Bellota Butifarra Sausage because it intrigued me.
It is sausage made from Iberian pigs, which are supposedly fed acorns as babies. This raw sausage wasn’t quite firm enough to cube, and not red like authentic chorizo, but it was really good!
When we were in Spain many years, my husband and I would order both jamon Serrano and Ibérico (similar to Prosciutto) and we could not tell the difference. Maybe they just knew we were Americans and didn’t bother giving us the real stuff, I don’t know! But we gave up after a few tries, and stuck to the fabulous but much less expensive Serrano.
In any case, in spite of not having used real chorizo, these scallop and sausage skewers were wonderful. I will paraphrase the recipe from Charcuterie because it’s so simple.
Chorizo and Scallop Skewers
12 – 1″ cubes chorizo or firm spicy sausage
12 scallops, approximately the same size
Coarsely ground pepper
Heat a small amount of oil in a cast-iron or other heavy skillet. Brown the cubes or slices of sausage on all sides, then lower the heat and cook thoroughly. Place them on paper towels to drain.
Using the same fat from the olive oil and sausage, sear the scallops in the hot oil, then lower the heat to cook through. Place the scallops on paper towels to drain.
Let the chorizo and scallops cool, then skewer them together, with the scallop first, followed by the chorizo.
Sprinkle on a generous amount of paprika and ground pepper.
I used a mixed peppercorn combination.
These hors d’oeuvres are best served warm. They could be prepared ahead of time if they were gently re-heated so as not to overcook the scallops and dry out the chorizo or sausage.
I will definitely be making these again with real chorizo, but I can really see the scallop pairing with just about any kind of sausage!
note: For a handy comparison chart on Spanish vs. Mexican chorizo, check out this website.