Pitside Therapy Provides Calm – And Scallops. Delicious Cast Iron Seared Scallops.
A simple question posed online by a social media friend started a long and eye-opening discussion. I will add that this is a person that I have actually met, not a virtual “friend” that simply follows along to be nosey or weirdly stalkerish. Y’all know who you are. But back to topic. The posted question was simple and succinct.
How do you reduce anxiety in your life?
I normally would’ve scrolled right by. And initially, I did just that, moving on to the next group of posts. But something about this question stuck in my head and I really couldn’t pinpoint why. So I decided to start reading the comments, thinking about what type of humorous response I could add to this discussion that apparently had gotten way too deep.
But did it get too deep, or did it actually get too personal? I got into my own head with that bit of reflection and actually started to feel a little, dare I say…anxiety. So I tried to do what I always do when I feel stressed or under pressure. I tried to be funny.
My actual response was, “Aw jeez, how am I supposed to answer THAT question? Let me think. But not too much. But not too little. I don’t wanna sound flippant. But I don’t wanna sound too serious either. Aw man, I don’t know. I. Don’t. Know! You’re freakin’ me out with these questions…”
His response to me was short and sweet. “Gerald, Cooking.”
What the heck are you talking about, I thought. Are you saying I’m cooking, as in freaking myself out? I’m cooking!
Cooking. Then it hit me. Cooking, as in grilling. It’s my therapy. It’s my safe zone, my comfortable spot. Cooking. That’s how I reduce anxiety in my life
So as I come to grips with that fact, let’s enjoy the fruits of my therapy, shall we, and nibble on some Cast Iron Seared Scallops with Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms. Yowsa!
I had a dozen scallops, which ended up being maybe a pound and a quarter. Good size for the grill and for the belly. Making sure that they were drained well and gently patted dry, I gave them a sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt. Nothing more. The baby portabellas were cleaned, dried and filled with a locally made seafood stuffing.
Knowing that the mushrooms would take longer than the scallops, I started a hardwood fire on the trusty old Weber and positioned the mushrooms just a bit away from the direct heat of the fire. These would have to be within 5 or six minutes of being ready to pull off the grill before the scallops are dealt with.
Once the seafood stuffed ‘shrooms were near complete, a cast iron pan is preheated directly over the hardwood fire, ready to get smokin’ hot for our main feature. Once go-time is reached, the scallops are laid out in the cast iron quickly, keeping an eye on the clock. At the 90 second mark, I repeated the action, flipping the scallops and quickly showering the second side with the seasoned pepper and salt. Clock watching continues until the 3-minute mark, and off they come accompanied by those mushrooms.
Arranged beautifully on a plate, and set off by the vibrant green of fresh steamed broccoli, this quick therapy session made everything feel better for the evening and helped remind one of what is truly good and important in life.
And when we can consistently remember and hold those important things close to us, then we, my friend, are in a good place…