Appetizers in a Men’s Club

A while back, a tall scruffy guy would walk past Poseidon and, as happens, we began to exchange ‘Hi’s’ and ‘Hello’s.’  One day, he stopped and gave us some freshly caught scallops.  Naturally, he became The Scallop Guy.  Then, a few months later, we went to meet our new attorney and found ourselves in the offices of… The Scallop Guy.  We hardly recognized him in his suit.   We got to know him better and often saw him out at the islands, with his family.  They’re serious surfers and fishermen.

Recently, The Scallop Guy (he may be our attorney but he remains The Scallop Guy to us!) asked us if we’d put on a cooking demonstration at a Ventura men’s social club – a Man Cave, I think they call it.  We were happy to do so, except there are no cooking facilities in this otherwise perfect location, on Main Street, above a once notorious bar.

We decided to prepare and demo four cold appetizers:  Mango Margarita Oysters on the half shell; Watermelon Gazpacho; Prosciutto & Melon Balls; and Shrimp Santa Cruz.  Every ingredient except the mangoes was bought locally, the oysters coming from a new Ventura Enterprise, the Jolly Oyster and the shrimp fresh off a Ventura fishing boat.

If it’s possible for perfect oysters to be upstaged, our local fish guy, Cisco (Ocean Pride Seafood) did it with 10 pounds of Santa Barbara shrimp (also known as Spot Prawns).  The 10 pounds yielded just 2 pounds of shrimp meat but, of course, we’ll make stock and/or bisque and or shrimp butter from the magnificent heads and shells.

But to get back to the event, The Scallop Guy gathered about 50 husbands and wives in the club and we had at least two helpings – samples – of each dish for everyone.  I have a new found respect for caterers!

John presented wine pairings for three of the dishes, and made some suggestions as to what beers might match them, too.

The beers came from a local mini brewery (Surf Brewery) so what with them and the recipe ingredients, we really stuck close to our ideal: local, fresh, organic, sustainable.

You can find the recipes by clicking here.

Oh, and the Scallop Guy?  Turns out he’s allergic to shellfish.  No one said life was fair.