Archive for Scallops

Scallops and Lemon Fettuccine

Poor husband.  His business travels always result his his missing the dinners planned by his foodie teen daughter and executed by his food blogger wife.   Following up on the homemade pizza dinner, the young lady requested a dinner featuring scallops and fresh pasta.  Naturally, our culinarily conservative son stuck with a burger that night–though he did have a grand time with the pizza.

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Here’s what we came up with:  Lidia Bastianitch’s Lemon Alfredo, and sauteed dry scallops.  I recently learned from another Lydia–the fishmonger at John Yi Seafood in Reading Terminal Market that dry scallops are better for a sauteed or grilled dish because they brown well.  Wet scallops, which are a few dollars cheaper, are better in stews, curries, soups and other sauce-based dishes because they don’t brown.  It has to do with the way the different types hold and release water–I didn’t get all the technicalities, but as you can see from the picture, the dry ones do brown.

I started by allowing the scallops to reach room temp, then salting and peppering them.

Next, I placed them in a buttered skillet, browned them,  gave them a spritz of lemon juice and a splash of white wine.  I turned them frequently, and cooked them for a total of about 8 minutes.

While the scallops seared, and the pasta water came to a boil, I prepared the sauce to Lidia’s specifications, starting with the grated lemon zest and butter in the skillet.  It took all of about 6 minutes.

The arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette was the perfect accompaniment, keeping the lemon flavor motive infused through all items on the plate.  I tossed the leaves with a squeeze of lemon, a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil.

The returning husband did get to enjoy the leftover pasta 3 days later…..

Scallops with Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

With the weather turning, our thoughts invariably stray to warm, comforting foods that are both tasty and hearty.

Brussel sprouts hits the sweet spot for me.

They are the quintessential Fall food, and to my mind are associated with all the best family-centered Holidays of the year, notably Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Having bought a couple of pounds of new season brussels sprouts, and grabbed some bacon and onion with which to stir fry my sprouts, I had a brain wave.  I had some teeny scallops lurking in the freezer, perhaps I could flash fry the scallops and serve them on a bed of sprouts?

This isn’t as crazy as it seems…This weekend’s WSJ featured a seared swordfish steak with brussels, and scallops are more often than not served wrapped in a cloak of bacon.  So, I gave it go.

I followed the recipe we’ve published on multiple occasions, because it’s just so darned good.  (Rick Nichols’ interpretation of Marc Vetri’s sprouts) and added bacon and extra sliced onion.

My fast food staple – seasoned butters

Then I flash fried the scallops in chili lime butter (ready made from Wholefoods) – a staple in my freezer.

The result was inspirational!

Heartily recommended.

Have you devised an innovative food pairing which to your surprise actually worked out well?

Do share.

Grilled Scallops with Watermelon Salsa

Perfect summer dinner:  Grilled scallops with watermelon salsa, sauteed kale, and caramelized tomato-onion quinoa (more on that in upcoming post)– and of course when it comes to food and me, there’s always a story.

My teen daughter,  Kelsey, a budding gourmet and food critic herself, takes a strong interest in menu planning when her dad travels for business.  And if you know anything about teen girls, you know that their desire to share time in a pleasant, bonhomous way with parents is minuscule.    If she wants to hang with me over Ossetra and truffles,  I’m likely to give it a shot.  She and I dine on the dishes she dreams up (yes, I do the procurement and execution) while her far less adventurous brother scarfs hamburgers.  Dad, poor chap, is stuck hearing about these feasts while he roughs it in airport hotels.

Last month, when Dad spent 3 days in Birmingham, AL taking depositions, we had filet with port wine reduction and buttermilk mashed potatoes one night;  the following saw Panko crusted Cajun crab cakes with cilantro slaw…Last night, poor Dad was stuck in transit between here and the west coast while we enjoyed the repast pictured above.  When he asked me about the evening after finally arriving in the wee hours of the morning due to 3 hours of flight delays, he chafed a bit:  “Why is it that I leave and you make these magazine spread dinners, and when I get home it’s omelets all around?!”.   Well, he has a point.  But in my defense, the omelets are really good.

Anyway, Kelsey planned the menu’s side dishes around a Glamour mag article that suggested 5 Foods that everyone should start eating for optimal health, and she asked for grilled scallops with watermelon salsa to accompany the kale and quinoa.  Here’s what I did:

Watermelon Salsa

1 1/2 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 scallions, sliced, green and white parts
1/2 tsp finely minced hot pepper (adjust for taste–peppers vary widely in ‘heat’)
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime

Mix all ingredients in glass bowl and let sit one hour to blend flavors.


6 large dry scallops
juice of 1/2 lime
salt & pepper

Place scallops on plate, squeeze lime over and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Marinate for about 30 mins.  Oil grill, heat to high, and place scallops on grill.  Cover 1 minute.  Rotate the scallops 90 degrees on the grill (to get the cross-grill marks), cover and cook another minute.  Flip the scallops and repeat this rotation process on other side.  Total cooking time 4-6 minutes, do not overcook.  Remove from grill, plate, and serve with salsa.


Appetizers for the Shore: Scallop and Bacon Skewers

On the menu last Sunday: Scallop & Bacon Skewers, Grilled Shrimp with Thai Sweet Chili dipping sauce

I’m a sucker for appetizers.  I’d rather pick two appetizers in a restaurant than follow the traditional route through a menu.  I like the delicate scale of appetizers on a small plate, the interesting ingredients featured, and their general razzle-dazzle factor.

Appetizers can save the day at the shore. 

You never know just who is going to drop in, or, more to the point, how many (uninvited) friends they may well bring back with them from the beach.  The key to a perfect beach appetizer is that it must be quick to prepare and must use ingredients either that you keep in your freezer, or that you can source from a local store at the drop of a hat.

This bacon and scallop skewer recipe drew gasps from an admiring crowd last Sunday in Stone Harbor: ”you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble,” said one guest. 

I didn’t, believe me - but why tell your friends that..?

Scallops & Bacon Skewers
* 11b uncooked scallops  (I prefer the clean white disk only, i.e. with the orange part removed. Just looked this up and apparently this part of the sea mollusk is the intestinal tract, so let’s give this part a miss.)
* 1/2 packet of smoked bacon
* Pam Spray (or my preference) I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter spray, which  has a richer taste.
* Seasonings – your choice.  You can use Old Bay or Beck’s Devil Dust, in fact, any seasoning intended for shellfish or sea food would work — just make sure it’s got a kick to it. 

Scallops have a great texture if not overcooked, but can be pretty tasteless.  Combining the scallops with smoked bacon makes them jump for joy.  The smoky saltiness of the bacon leaches onto the scallops, suffusing them with a caramelized saltiness. The whole dish is then lifted by the Old Bay.

The recipe is so simple, I can share it in two sentences…

Cut each bacon slice in half, roll, then thread on a skewer, alternating a rolled piece of bacon with a scallop until you fill the skewer.  Spray skewered bacon and scallop then generously dust with your chosen seasoning and cook on a moderate grill until bacon is crispy.  (The scallops and bacon seem to cook at the same time, so it’s a failsafe way of telling when the scallops are cooked through)

A shore-fire winner.