Every so often, a drink defines the moment. For a couple of years, it was the sleek Cosmopolitan - a cocktail made with citrus vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice - for young urbanites on the prowl.
Los Angeles Times Syndicate
Now it's the mojito, with its image of loose, laid-back pleasure. It's perfect for the sweltering days of August when hoisting yourself into a hammock is the most exertion you want.
The recipe, said to date back to pre-Castro Cuba, is refreshing and soothing. A well-made mojito has enough mint to revive your spirits and enough rum to make you mellow. And the splash of lime juice will tickle your tongue.
Unlike some cocktails that don't extend beyond the glass, the mojito has ingredients well-suited to cooking. Lime juice, mint and rum make an excellent seafood marinade. Use it with scallops, and you'll give the delicate, briny morsels a sweet-tart minty accent.
Don't marinate fish or seafood for more than 30 minutes. The acid in the marinade quickly firms up the proteins. If you let delicate foods soak a few hours, you'll have a pickled dish, like the classic ceviche. Besides, you'll want the flavorful caramelized texture you can get only by cooking the scallops.
Serve Mojito Scallops with a salad of black beans, diced avocado and jalapeno chiles.
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons light rum
1/2 pound sea scallops
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked rice
1. Mix the lime juice, mint, shallots, sugar and rum in a medium bowl. Add the scallops. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes; turn scallops, and marinate 10 minutes longer. Discard marinade.
2. Place the scallops on a baking sheet. Season with the salt and pepper. Place under the broiler, and broil until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
3. Serve with the rice.
Per serving: 272 calories, 21 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 1 gram fat, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 184 milligrams sodium, 0.4 milligram fiber.