Chef Daniels’ Delight

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  • Cold water as needed
  • 12 ounces queso fresco
  • 1 large head green cabbage
  • 3 bunches chopped cilantro
  • 12 limes quartered
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 pounds chorizo
  • 36 heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 36 U-10 diver scallops, cleaned
  • 72 mussels, cleaned
  • 3 pounds dried hominy
  • 2 ancho chili peppers
  • 2 cascabel chili peppers
  • 2 gallons light chicken stock (clarified)
  • 6 cups masa
  • 1⁄4 cup canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for griddle

“Instead of drowning delicate shellfish such as clams and mussels in wine and butter, I find that I get a really good result if I throw them into a hot dry pan and let them roast. That way they steam and baste in their own juices and you get a really condensed seafood flavor. Although this dish has quite a few components, a lot of the steps, like making the chicken stock, cooking the hominy, chopping the cilantro, shaving the cabbage, and prepping the pupusas, can be done a day ahead. That way, when it’s time to put everything together for serving, it can take as little as 15 to 20 minutes.” — Jason Daniels, Executive Chef of Inn at Willow Grove

Yield: 12 servings

  1. In large sauce pot boil hominy, garlic, and chilies until just tender. Drain well, salt, and reserve.
  2. In a large bowl combine masa, canola oil, salt, pepper, and water. Hand mix until combined and has consistency of Play-Doh. Cover with plastic and set aside.
  3. Shave cabbage and portion into twelve large bowls, set aside.
  4. Pre-heat griddle to 375°.
  5. Using 8 ounces of the masa mixture, patty out, and add 1 ounce of queso in the center. Fold in half and patty once again until you have a disk shape and no cheese is exposed. Griddle in olive oil until golden on both sides. Keep warm, repeat for twelve portions (use paper or a resting rack to ensure crispiness).
  6. Pre-heat two large braising pans.
  7. Season scallops with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Sear on both sides and remove.
  8. Add mussels to dry pan and roast until just starting to open. Remove from pan.
  9. Add chorizo, cooked hominy, and chicken stock; let simmer until the chorizo is fully cooked. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  10. Add tomatoes to reserved bowls of cabbage. Add the hominy, stock, and chorizo mixture: six mussels and chopped cilantro. Squeeze 3⁄4 of a lime into each, then garnish with remaining 1⁄4 of the lime.
  11. Place on large rectangular plate using one corn tortilla to anchor bowl to keep it in place. On opposite side of the plate, place pupusa and top with the three seared scallops.

Recipe submitted by: Jason Daniels, Executive Chef, Inn at Willow Grove, Orange, Virginia.