When I taste a delicious dish, I can't resist asking how it's made. However, if the source is a professional chef, converting his or her process for the home kitchen can be tricky, often demanding a modified game plan.
For example, John Howie, executive chef at Seattle's Palisade Waterfront Restaurant, turns out delicately flavored smoked scallops and smoked hazelnuts for this mellow and ― except for the smoking ― very easy pasta. But then he has the advantage of a commercial smoker.
Where there's a trick, there's a trickster: I set out to "smoke" the handful of shellfish and nuts this dish requires without buying a smoker or ever firing up the barbecue. Modifying Howie's initial step a bit, I brined the scallops and hazelnuts in water, salt, sugar, and liquid smoke (made from real smoke ― a little goes a long way). Voilà! Smoke flavor that delicately permeates the scallops and hazelnuts.