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Archive for the ‘Scallops’ Category

68 Days of Gourmet:  Day 30

I know I’ve mentioned this before but I love staying in on Friday nights and cooking something a little more special than our average weeknight meal. This week sea scallops were on sale at the grocery. Since they are one of my favorites, I decided to base our Friday night meal off of them.

I browsed through the highly rated scallop recipes from Gourmet online and thought that this recipe for Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc sounded perfect. I love sundried tomatoes so I knew I would enjoy this beurre blanc.

I went to a hot vinyasa class at Y2 yoga after work yesterday. The founder of the studio, Tanner, was teaching so I was very excited to check it out. It was an awesome class and I couldn’t believe the amount of work he packed in to 60 minutes. Usually, I prefer 90 minute yoga classes but I don’t think I could have made it through 30 more minutes of this class! I definitely think there was 90 minutes of work packed into the 60 minute class! I left exhausted but with a smile on my face – ready for the weekend and ready for these scallops!

The online recipe says that the preparation time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. That is not true. I don’t know how it could have taken that long. The only time you have to build in is making your sundried tomato butter. You can do that the day before or cheat like me and put the butter in the freezer to harden! :)

I loved this recipe. Simple but delicious preparation. I served it with Orzo “Risotto” (I was going to make real risotto but ran out of time and energy for it!) and roasted asparagus. Perfect Friday night feast!

Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc
(Recipe source Gourmet, May 2002)

Ingredients:

FOR BEURRE BLANC
1/4 cup packed soft dried tomatoes (I used very soft, ready to use sundried tomatoes and skipped the rehydration step)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup minced shallot
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

FOR SCALLOPS
2 lb large sea scallops (30), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
About 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

FOR THE BEURRE BLANC
Soak tomatoes in warm water until softened, 20 to 25 minutes (I skipped this step because I used ready to eat softened sundried tomatoes). Drain and pat dry, then mince. Mix together tomatoes, softened butter and salt. Form butter into a log on a sheet of plastic wrap, roll up and chill until firm. About 1 hour in fridge or you can cheat and put the butter in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Cut tomato butter into 12 equal pieces.

Heat a small heavy sauce pan over low heat. Cook shallot in 1 piece of tomato butter for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add wine and boil over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, to about 1/3 cup. This should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in remaining cold tomato butter 1 piece at a time, adding each piece before previous one has completely melted and lifting pan from heat occasionally to cool mixture (sauce should not get hot enough to separate). Whisk in water and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer beurre blanc to a bowl and keep warm, covered, in a larger bowl of warm water.

FOR THE SCALLOPS
Rinse and pat scallops dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sear scallops, turning once, until golden on each side and cooked through. About 2-4 minutes total. Work in batches if you need, keeping previously cooked scallops warm on a platter covered with foil. Wipe out skillet and add more oil in between batches.

Serve scallops with 3 tablespoons of beurre blanc – either spooned onto the bottom of the dish or spooned over the scallops. I served my beurre blanc over the scallops and the orzo.

Yield: 6 servings
(I did not make 6 servings for the 2 of us. I just cut the beurre blanc in half and used about 1/2 pound of scallops.)

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scallops

The last few weeks I have been traveling for work and putting crazy hours in. Last weekend was my first weekend off in three weeks and I just wanted to hang out at home and relax. We planned a “date night” at home on Friday night and I really wanted to try something a little fancier than what I make on weeknights. Think fine dining-esque.

We thought about it all day on Friday and browsed through a few cookbooks. We finally landed on sea scallops. One of my very favorite things to order in nice restaurants is seared sea scallops over risotto. So off I went to Whole Foods after work with a mission of creating a delicious scallop dish.

I ended up with six beautiful sea scallops, fresh spinach and prosciutto de parma. When I got home I turned to my trusty Joy of Cooking (seriously, if you do not own a copy – buy one! most useful cookbook ever!) and used their “Simplest Risotto” for my risotto.

I loosely followed a recipe from The Newlyweds Cookbook for the scallops. I finished it all off with wilted spinach and a balsamic reduction.

This is a great special occasion recipe. I was really, really pleased with how it came out. The scallops were a cinch and the risotto…well…risotto is a labor of love. You have to commit to stirring (a good job to assign the man)! I highly recommend you give this a try if you’re looking for a special Valentine’s day dinner (or any date-worthy occasion).

Simplest Risotto
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups Italian rice
1/2 cup white wine (can sub chicken stock)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter or heat olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook over low heat until soft and translucent but not browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, simmer the chicken stock over medium heat.

Increase the heat on the onions to medium and stir in the rice. Using broad strokes, stir the rice until it looks chalky and you can see a white dot in the center of each grain, about three minutes.

Stir in white wine and continue stirring to prevent sticking until all wine has been absorbed. Then start stirring in the stock, 1 cup at a time. Each cup must be absorbed before the next is added. Stir the risotto continuously to prevent sticking. When 6 cups of stock have been absorbed, add the stock 1/2 cup at a time and start tasting the rice. It should be tender but still a little firm to the bite, not mushy.

Take the risotto off the heat when the rice still has a little more resistance than you’d like and fold in butter and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.

Let risotto stand for a moment and then serve immediately.

Seared Scallops with Crispy Prosciutto
(Adapted from The Newlyweds Cookbook)

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp olive oil
6-8 sea scallops (3 or 4 per person)
8 slices prosciutto, roughly chopped
1 bag of baby spinach, optional
salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium to medium high heat in a medium saute pan. Add prosciutto and saute until crispy, 3-4 minutes. Make sure to have the exhaust fan on, the prosciutto will smoke. Drain on a plate line with paper towels.

Wipe out pan and heat another 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat . Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to hot skillet. Sear 2-3 minutes per side (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your scallops). They should be golden on both sides.

When you remove the scallops from the pan  you can throw a bag of spinach in the leftover olive oil and heat until lightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp brown sugar, to taste

Directions:

Bring vinegar to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer until it’s reduced by about 1/2. Add in the sugar and let simmer until thickened. Remove from heat. Will thicken more as it cools. Watch the mixture carefully to prevent scorching while simmering.

To plate everything…

Place risotto and spinach on plate side-by-side. Arrange scallops on overlap between spinach and risotto. Sprinkle with crispy prosciutto. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

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