Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Perfectly Seared Scallops & Pasta, adapted from Steamy Kitchen

Today was one of those days-- the kind where I'm driving home, from a hard day at the office, and I dread the thought of coming home to cook.  Then again, I didn't want to go out to eat because we're tightened up our budget a bit-- we recently bought the house we've been living in for a few years. While we don't regret our investment, we're a little cash poor for a while. With that said, I resigned myself to trying to figure out a recipe that would be quick and didn't require a stop at the grocery store.  I did a mental inventory of my freezer...frozen scallops!  I remembered seeing Jaden Hair's recipe for Scallops & Pasta that she posted on Tasty Kitchen (The Pioneer Woman's recipe blog for her fans). Thawing scallops is easy-- I soaked them in a little water for about 20 minutes and patted them very, very dry.  Trust me, this is a very important thing to do:


These are giant scallops that I bought at Costco, several months ago. They're reasonably priced.

Be sure to remove the "foot".  It's easy to spot, because it separates very easily from the scallop.  If you forget to do this (which I have), it's a bit chewy.  Pat the scallops again, because you want them very dry.  Otherwise, you'll end up "steaming" the scallops, and that's not as pretty or tasty as a golden sear.  There's some prep work to do:




Start a  pot of water to boiling, and you'll need some pasta-- spaghetti, linguini, angel hair.. whatever you have. I have a weakness for collecting pasta from Trader Joe's. This one looks good!  Salt the water and cook according to package directions.

Chop a tomato-- I used Romas, because I think they're perfect for cooking. Mince some garlic, and I decided to mince a shallot.  Rarely do I not have shallots on hand. I love them, and I use them often.   Now, we're ready to make dinner in no time, flat!  Salt & pepper the scallops on both sides...

Now, here's the second key point to searing-- ready?  The skillet has to be fire-engine red hot! Hot, hot, hot!  That's when a cast iron skillet comes in handy.  I added some olive oil and then put those scallops in the hot pan, giving them some space.

Can you hear it sizzling? Do not touch these for two minutes. Otherwise, bad things will happen!

This shot is out of focus, sorry. It was hard to hold the tongs, when I'm right handed and to focus -- and I forgot to turn on the macro.  Still, I wanted to show how I checked after two minutes-- perfect! Now flip them over.

I liked Jaden's tip to flip the scallops over and to move them towards the center. See those brown bits? Flavor! Remove the scallops, and set aside.  Time to finish off this dish.

I like to use Sauvignon Blanc or Vermouth for cooking...

 I did things a little backwards from Jaden's recipe-- I added the white wine, followed with some chicken stock (you could use all white wine or all chicken stock).  From there, I added the fresh garlic and shallots and let them cook for less than a minute-- then I added the fresh tomatoes for about 30 seconds.  Last, I added the drained pasta.  Jaden's way was to add butter to the skillet, then the garlic and tomatoes and then the wine...whatever floats your boat.

This is fast food, my way!

We grow our own basil, so I picked a few fresh leaves-- rolled them up like a cigar, and then sliced them into a chiffonade.  Do this at the last minute, as fresh basil will turn dark.

There you have it-- perfectly seared scallops.  These were sweet and very tender.

VERDICT:  I need to make scallops more often. This recipe would work well with prawns, as well. My husband-- who crinkled his nose at eating scallops--  said they were delicious!  He was impressed at how tender these were-- seafood fillet mignon. I had a glass of chilled white wine, and I was very happy.

The printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.  The beauty of this dinner is that I can put my feet up and relax.  We saved a lot of money by not going out to eat, yet I feel this dish was restaurant quality. Thanks Jaden!

 

By the way, I bought her debut cookbook, and I look forward to learning how to cook more Asian recipes. Her photos are great!

This is a keeper!




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30 comments:

Chef E said...

I love that you said 'seafood fillet mignon'! Those scallops look perfectly seared, which does seal in the moisture, making them so tender, and that pasta, yikes I came home hungry from open mic tonight!

Cherine said...

I love scallops and this dish looks wonderful!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Scallops are one of our favorites and it's hard to find good, big ones as you have here. Lucky you to find them at Cosco. I would love to have this delightful dish on a night I was tired and wanted something easy to cook. Just perfect.
Sam

SteamyKitchen said...

you're welcome! thank you for the shoutout!

Stacey Snacks said...

I rarely make scallops, and always forget what an easy weeknt meal they can be!
Do you realize that we are all advertisers for Trader Joe's?
We should get royalties!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

These really are perfectly seared - and that dish looks heavenly.

Ingrid said...

If you haven't guessed i generally get more excited by the sweets than I do by the savory but this looks fantastic. And you said it's quick & easy..love that, too.
~ingrid

Kristeeny said...

i've been craving pasta with scallops and this looked amazing!!! totally trying this recipe. thanks!!!

Kim said...

This is definitely a restaurant-style meal. Very impressive!

Muneeba said...

I need to start cooking with scallops too ... they're so easy, but so amazing when cooked just right, like yours! Gorgeous pics Deb!

Maria♥ said...

Hi

Unfortunately I have some sad news about Rosie from Baking Cakes Galore, Rosie passed away yesterday. I have written up a tribute to her on my blog and I am asking everyone who knew her if they would please take some time to leave a comment. I will be printing off all the comments to pass onto her husband.

Thanks
Maria
x

Barbara said...

Perfectly done scallops! So many overcook them. They are my favorite!
I love this simple, fast but elegant dish!

Pam said...

It looks delicious and definitely sounds like a keeper! Scallops are the best!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Beautiful job on the searing! That rich, bronze color is perfect!

Maria said...

I love scallops but don't cook them often enough. This dish looks wonderful.

Monica H said...

Puh-retty! Your scallops look perfect and so does that pasta!

Joanne said...

How very classy! This is a dish I could imagine being served at a restaurant. Absolutely delicious!

Joyce said...

Peaking in at your blog for the first time today and what luck to find a scallop recipe that is quick and easy for the summer at the beach. I enjoyed reading past posts and will peak in again.
Joyce

bella said...

i've always envied those who can eat scallops, they look and smell so delish (but I'm allergic to them), but the pasta from T.J's sounds wonderful and I'll have to make a trip over to Atlanta to pick some up. Thanks! Roz

Rachel said...

Thank you for submitting this great recipe for Pasta Presto Nights #165. I have often cooked with the smaller bay scallops, but this looks so luscious, I think I will experiment with this larger variety. Yumm.

Ruth Daniels said...

Scallops truly are spectacular. I was afraid of making my own for years, figuring I'd manage to destroy these beauties. Thanks for the tutorial - no one should have to wait as long as I did ;-D

And thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

Cheryl said...

I see you have been busy, I have been afraid to eat Scallops for awhile, and I dont know why. This looks so beautiful I might have to reconsider!

Pink Lady said...

you had me at...scallops, enough said! wonderful!

Mother Rimmy said...

I love your pictures. They really make the food come alive!

Claudia said...

My husband's a "nose crinkler" at scallops too. But, these might just change that. What a delicious tutorial. Got to try it.

clautis said...

stumbled across your blog while looking for a scallop pasta recipe.
Tried it and it is absolutely amazing!!!

keep the good work up and I have bookmarked you!!

Will keep coming back!!

xxx

Katelin A said...

I made this last night (I used the chicken stock, no wine) and it was superb! I had never seared scallops before and they came out amazing. My boyfriend and his father loved it as well. Thanks for the recipe!!

RMFoodie said...

I just made your scallop recipe and THANK YOU! I just subscribed online and plan to check back often for new recipes and ideas. I love the tone of your blog and the photos are very helpful.

Anonymous said...

you are funny! but you are right:
i moved the scallops, and bad things did happen!
tasted ok, so i thought i give it another go.
this time it is perfect! yum yum yum.
must follow you around more.

love your useful tips. this one is easy and VERY VERY tasty, so perfect for me, lazy bum. flexibility also means we can improvise, and lets face it, part of the fun is to discover what else works.

thank you o great one!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thanks, Anonymous! It's tempting to move the food around, but patience does pay off...that beautiful golden sear is what makes these scallops so good!