Judi Fennell

posted Oct 4, 2009, 5:41 PM by Natalie Duvall
Judi Fennell's Sexy Scallops Scallopini

When the story for In Over Her Head came to me - mermen, a woman terrified of the ocean due to The Incident, Atlantis, talking fish - I just started writing what the characters told me. Live under the sea? Check. Chat with the aquatic neighbors? Check. One big happy town under Bermuda? Check.
The logistics never got in the way. Until I had them all hanging around a table chatting. They're going to eat food, right? Of course they will. I could have made them vegetarians, but really, with all that abundance of sea life, why wouldn't they eat fish? The dilemma came when you realize that they'd be having a conversation with Joe the Grouper one minute, and be dining on him the next. You can see the problem.
So, I had to devise a no-kill zone for Atlantis, yet still manage to feed the masses. In my world, Atlantis has a five mile no-kill radius. Everyone is safe within those parameters. Swim a fin over the line and you're fair game.
But the residents of Atlantis, which is lit by refracted magma off gold walls, bending through the water like a reverse prism to create daylight, have those magma wells available for cooking. So I had a bunch of fun trying to come up with something they would prepare. This little number gets a mention in Wild Blue Under (which comes out November 1) and while Drake complains about it, since they have it every week, it's actually very good.
Here, with a sneak peak of Wild Blue Under, is Drake's take on the food:
"So what are you doing to keep yourself occupied these days, Drake?"
Again, an answer Drake had prepared-with just enough nonchalance that Dad would assume it was real. After all, dear ol' Dad thought he was incompetent, and he didn't want to ruin the image.
Especially now.
Drake waved off the squid who propelled over to him with a plate of shrimp in his tentacles. "I'm working on an underwater writing utensil that will make tablets, urchin spines, and octopi ink obsolete."
            "Hmmph." Nigel bit into another slice. "If it works, we'll have to look into getting you a patent."
             Dad had to preface the statement with "if."
             "If it works," "if you pass," "if you finish..."
             Never "when."
             But now... When this plan worked, he'd be out from under Nigel's thumb and finally get the respect the Mer should have shown him his entire life.
             Drake met his father's gaze across the table through the anemone centerpiece, looking for some sign of approval.
            And just like always, there was none.
            Ha. The old man didn't know what he'd planned. Didn't have a clue what he was up to.
            Not yet.
Because, the thing was, Nigel would probably try to stop him. Oh, the old salt would love to have him on the throne, but not the way Drake was planning to do it. No, apparently getting someone knocked up was an acceptable way to insinuate yourself into the succession lineup, but murder wasn't. Dad was a real stickler for the rules.
Heh. Whatever worked . As long as it did. Then the method wouldn't matter.
            He couldn't wait to show Dad the results. Have him accompany him to the crowning ceremony, then watch Fisher's daughters line up to marry him.
            Watch his father bow before him.
            Drake helped himself to more of the scallops scallopini they had, ad nauseum, every week. Things never changed around here-
            But they were about to.
            Because, come Hades or high tide, there was no way Rod was going to make it back to claim the throne.
           Drake had hired JR to ensure it.
Sexy Scallops Scallopini
** A recipe for the Mer-minded among us. Or anyone who enjoys scallops.

1 lb. sea scallops
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 /4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 cup white wine (the sweeter the better)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
Red oak lettuce as garnish

Season scallops with salt, pepper. Arrange washed/dried red oak leaves on a serving plate as a bed. Heat oil in pan. When oil starts to sizzle add scallops. Sear until golden on both sides. Don't overcook. Set aside on bed of lettuce when finished. Add chopped garlic and red peppers to oil. Cook until just before garlic turns golden then add the wine. Simmer 1 minute. Add pineapple and stir to coat. Serve warm pineapple/wine mixture over scallops. **For a salad flair, add thinly slivered almonds and toss with finely shredded oak lettuce as bed. Drizzle fresh pineapple juice mixed with a dash of lemon juice as dressing.