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Who's Cooking: Karen Kankel of Baiting Hollow

Karen Kankel displays her scallop dish, prepared with

Karen Kankel displays her scallop dish, prepared with Montauk sea scallops over arugula from Sang Lee farms with a chile cream drizzle. (April 9, 2011) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

KAREN KANKEL

A wholesale representative for Paumanok Vineyards, she lives in Baiting Hollow with husband, Jason, and their dog, Rosco.

When did you start cooking? When I was little my mom would let me crack an egg, mix a meatloaf. When I was 6, I learned to make pancakes. When I was a teen, I worked at restaurants.

How do you decide what to cook? It really depends on the season. This time of year I'm really looking forward to spring vegetables -- baby carrots, spring peas, asparagus.

How do you like to entertain? For years, every summer I've thrown a party . . . it's gotten so big I ask people to bring food, too. One thing I love is bread salad. We grow cherry tomatoes, so I put in those, parsley and add fresh baked bread and avocados. I make salmon canapés; I do cheese from The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck. I make a heart attack on a plate: kielbasa with bacon in a semi-dry Riesling reduction.

What's special about this recipe? This is one of my favorite unions of land and sea. These scallops are from Braun Seafood in Cutchogue. They're not as sweet as Peconic Bay scallops, but I added some sweet cipolline onions in the cream sauce. The greens and herbs come from Sang Lee Farms in Peconic.

Which wine might you serve with this dish? Two great wine pairing suggestions are Paumanok 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and Shinn Estate Vineyards Coalescence. Both wines have great, sharp acidity and citrus aromas to stand up to the spicy raciness of the arugula and pair beautifully with the tender scallops.

MONTAUK SEA SCALLOPS WITH ARUGULA, CHILE CREAM DRIZZLE

12 slender dried chiles (such as arbol)

½ cup flour

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons

chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cipolline onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

16 sea scallops, rinsed and drained

For salad:

8 ounces arugula

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Garnish: Chives and lemon wedges

1. Wearing gloves, cut the chiles lengthwise with a paring knife and remove seeds. Put chiles in a food processor and finely chop, about 1 minute.

2. In bowl, whisk a pinch of fine chile powder with flour, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 teaspoons thyme and pepper. Set aside.

3. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil; add garlic and onion and saute 2 minutes. Add butter and melt, then add wine, parsley, thyme and chiles. Simmer to reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Strain into a medium saucepan and stir in cream. Simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

4. Dredge scallops in flour mixture, shaking off excess coating. In a large saute pan on medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sear scallops in batches until golden, about 2 minutes.

5. Combine arugula with remaining ingredients; divide among 4 plates and top each with 4 scallops; drizzle with chile reduction. Garnish with chives and lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.

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