makes about two cups
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) dried scallops
2 ounces (about 3/4 cup) dried shrimp
1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
1/2 cup sliced peeled fresh ginger
1 cup chopped country ham, ham scraps or chopped Chinese sausage
1/2 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 tablespoon crushed dried red chile
Combine the dried scallops and shrimp in a bowl and cover them by 1/2 inch or so with room-temperature water. Cover the bowl and let them sit out overnight to rehydrate.
Put the garlic and ginger in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse on and off until finely chopped. Scrape out into a small bowl and reserve. Drain the scallops and shrimp and follow the same protocol to finely chop; then add to the bowl with the garlic and ginger. Finish by finely mincing the ham or sausage in the food processor; keep it separate from the rest of the ingredients.
Heat the oil in a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. After 1 minute, add the minced ham and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until it has started to brown and crisp. Add the chile and cook, stirring, another 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn the heat down to very low and add the dried seafood mixture. Stir to mix the contents of the pan, and stew the sauce over low, low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while to make sure nothing's sticking to the pan, until the mixture appears dry and the garlic and ginger are a dirty, dirty blonde. You can use the xo sauce immediately, or cool it and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for months if not years: you'll use it before it will ever go bad.
Chicken Wings in XO Caramel
We wanted to liven up this dry “sauce” and make it workable with one of our favorite foods, chicken wings. What better way than to make a sticky and sweet XO sauce caramel.
For XO Caramel:
2 cups turbinado sugar or palm sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup XO sauce
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a steady boil. Add XO sauce and salt to taste. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
2 lbs chicken wings
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season chicken wings with salt and pepper and spread in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
While the wings are baking, prepare a saucepan with vegetable oil (or other frying oil of your choice) coming up about 2 inches in the pot. Set to medium high. When the wings are out of the oven, lightly coat them with cornstarch and place them in the oil and fry about 2 minutes per side. Remove from oil, and toss in a large mixing bowl with XO sauce caramel. Enjoy.