Swapping Bacon for Tea

By

Sean Kenniff
Megan Swann
Seared Diver Scallops: Spearmint-Almond Pesto, English Peas, Earl Grey Smoke, Sea Beans, and Pickled Pearl Onion
Seared Diver Scallops: Spearmint-Almond Pesto, English Peas, Earl Grey Smoke, Sea Beans, and Pickled Pearl Onion

Everybody loves bacon. We get it. But the old adage that "bacon makes it better" is at best cliche and at worst a crutch. At Canon in Seattle, Chef Brandt Bishop has no use for either.

"You see a lot of scallops and bacon. I wanted to introduce the smoke without the pork," says Bishop. He started experimenting with applewood chips but found the window for successful smoking is small, because applewood smoke quickly grows bitter. Bishop moved on to black teas, eventually settling on Earl Grey: "It has much more of a floral aroma that I enjoy."

Bishop composes a dish of seared scallops, spearmint-almond pesto, English peas, garlic spears, and pickled pearl onions. Using a smoke gun loaded with Earl Grey, he briefly smokes the plated dish under a glass dome that’s uncloaked tableside. The smoke is pleasant and delicate, playing up the natural sweetness and slight sea-saltiness of the scallops. Optimal smoking time under the dome is one to two minutes, using no more than one teaspoon of tea.

Bishop is also applying tea smoke to salmon, and likes it on beets, carrots, and potatoes, too. He’s pushed aside crutches and cliches in favor of something little harder to grasp, like a cloud of tea smoke.

 

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