Emil Rivera, Executive Chef | Sur Lie, Portland, Maine
Emil Rivera understands his proximity to the working waterfront in Portland, Maine, places him in an enviable seafood acquisition position. At Sur Lie his scallops dish—which represents a nod to his roots in Puerto Rico—features pan-seared scallops served with white sweet-potato purée, pineapple mojo, pickled red onions and cilantro. It has become an untouchable part of the menu due to what he describes as an almost cult-like following.
To offer his diners the best scallops year-round, Rivera sources them from Japan when local diver scallops are not available from Maine or Massachusetts waters. “Local scallops are a tad firmer than the Hokkaido ones. We keep a close eye on that and adjust the cooking times and temperatures to deliver a standard product regardless of its origin,” says Rivera.
He buys scallops in one-pound increments, then processes them upon arrival to the restaurant by removing their abductor muscle and sorting them by size. He establishes portions and repacks them as dry as possible before putting them on ice in the refrigerator until needed for service.