The Ultimate Surf 'n' Turf

In Italian, sea scallops are known as capesante, or "holy shells." Medieval pilgrims visiting the sanctuary of St. James of Compostela in northern Spain wore the scallop shells around their necks and used them as drinking vessels or to eat the soup offered by monasteries along their route. Legend has it that the scallop shell was the symbol of the crusaders of the Order of St. James and that St. James helped save the life of a drowning knight who emerged from the sea covered in scallop shells. At La Mora (912 Lovett, 713-522-7412), the cape sante alla Marissa ($8.95) may also have magical powers. The dish consists of two tender scallops that look like large marshmallows. These are simply grilled then cloaked in prosciutto, which adds a slight saltiness to the otherwise sweet scallops. They are served on a square of dark green spinach polenta, which has been grilled over charcoal, imparting a superb smoky flavor. The crowning glory is a caper-mushroom sauce laced with lemon-butter, which forms the base of the dish and adds a tartness that perfectly complements the scallops.
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Paul Galvani