Who could be busier than April and Michael Levandowski during the holidays? The hubbub ends on Christmas Day for Santa, but these two have five kitchen/home/gourmet shops to tend to all year long. Once the Christmas shopping is over, it’s time to prepare for New Years parties. Yet, the couple still finds time to entertain. Their go-to recipe for company dinner during the holiday chaos is Martha’s Vineyard Bay Scallops with Squash, Mashed Potatoes, and Greens. It’s easy, it’s foolproof, and it’s satisfying. April defines it as “elegant comfort food.”
The couple own the LeRoux stores – LeRoux at Home and LeRoux Gourmet in Vineyard Haven, and three LeRoux Kitchen stores in New Hampshire and Maine. Islanders since 1988, they’ve owned many retail businesses and an inn, but, with both enjoying an interest in cooking, decided to focus on food and domestics shops. “We struggled with Martha’s Vineyard,” April explains, “in terms of the availability of tools and good things to cook.” So, they decided to turn LeRoux Clothing (which they already owned) into a kitchen/home store. “It wasn’t so much an opportunity,” April says, “as ‘I can’t believe we can’t find a place to buy a nice pan on Martha’s Vineyard!’ We’d have to go off-Island or use the internet. And (at that time) the internet wasn’t even so much an option.”
The Levandowskis developed the recipe with a desire to showcase their favorite local ingredient. “The Martha’s Vineyard bay scallops are like candy,” April says. “They’re gems. They are something that is very special to us.” So much so, that when visiting friends during a Florida vacation, the Levandowskis had them air shipped from the Island so their friends could taste them.
The recipe also had to be easy. It’s fifteen minutes to marinate the scallops, and the other components can be put together in the meantime. And it’s seasonally colorful. “It doesn’t have red for Christmas,” April says. “But the bright orange! And the fresh rosemary! We like the way it looks on the plate.”
MV Bay Scallops with Squash, Mashed potatoes and Greens
Serves 4 (plan about ⅓ lb. of scallops per person)
1–1¼ lb bay scallops
¼ olive oil
¼ cup dry vermouth
2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
Salt & fresh cracked pepper
1 butternut squash seeded and quartered
4-6 medium size yellow potatoes, washed and quartered
Clean scallops by removing the white rectangular connecting muscle.
Rinse thoroughly and drain.
In a bowl, combine olive oil, dry vermouth, scallops, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir, cover, and refrigerate for at least 15 but no more than 60 minutes..
In the meantime, prepare squash and mashed potatoes.
Heat oven to 400
Place 1 tsp of butter, maple syrup & brown sugar into cavity.
Add salt & pepper
Bake until soft (45-60 min)
When squash is done, remove and cover with foil to keep warm.
Place washed and quartered yellow potatoes in saucepan filled ¾ with salted water.
Boil until tender.
Add butter, cream, salt and pepper and mash. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Set aside and reheat slightly before serving.
Oven to Broil
Using a slotted spoon, transfer marinated scallops to a baking dish.
Broil until caramelized (maybe 10 min.).
While broiling scallops, prepare your choice of green vegetable to serve alongside the scallops.
Place squash wedge onto plate or shallow bowl.
Fill cavity with mashed potatoes.
Place one fourth of the scallops on top of the potatoes.
Arrange sautéed or steamed greens (arugula, spinach, broccolini, etc) alongside.