Seared Sea Scallops with Herb Butter and Sauteed Garlic Spinach

I am a food blog lurker. Always on the lookout for what is the latest and greatest new culinary trend. Sometimes I get a little obsessive and am cruising the net for hours. Then I say to myself, "Get a life. Cook something and stop reading about what the thousands of other food bloggers are making." I am usually alone when I say this aloud. Only my dogs give me weird looks.

My research has indicated that most blogs have some sort of recipe, a photo of the finished product, and an anecdote of the cooking experience. All good and well. But, I plan to offer more to my readers. My posts will give you more than a peek into my kitchen. I'll give some background on the food/recipe of my post (i.e. like today's scallops) and hopefully provide a culinary tidbit you may not have known about. Exciting stuff, huh?

I spent dinner last night experimenting with sea scallops. I picked up a 2 pound bag of the frozen bivalve mollusks (first culinary tidbit) at Costco this week. Based on recommendations uncovered during my World Wide Web travels, I discovered that their scallops are good quality at a pretty reasonable price ($19.99). With about 25 per bag, that serves about 5 - 6 people. A good old product of the U.S.A., my mammoth wild sea scallops were caught in the Atlantic Ocean. I'm sure it's not too difficult to catch a scallop. I hear they aren't speedy swimmers.

Actually, the most common scallops in the United States are fished throughout the year off the coast from Newfoundland to North Carolina. They are dredged from the bottom of the deep water with large rakes. Scallops are shucked on the boats because they cannot survive very long out of water. You'll pay a premium for "day boat" scallops which is the last catch on shorter, 24 hour fishing trips. Scallops freeze well so buying them frozen is no problem. Defrost in the frig for about 8 hours?!! Who has that kind of time? I put them in a colander and rinsed them under cold water for about 10 minutes. Make sure to let the scallops drain on paper towels. Dry scallops ensure a nice sear.

Scallops can be broiled, grilled, baked or as I prepared them pan seared. Take care not to overcook them; they become tough. As soon as they lose their translucence, the scallops are done. Last night's creation was a culmination of ingredients I had on hand. Scallops are a quick cooker and adapt well to different flavors.

Three of the family of reviewers had scallops for dinner. A light, but filling entree given the thumbs up by all.

Seared Sea Scallops with Herb Butter and Sauteed Garlic Spinach

serves 2

For spinach
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 - 8 ounce bag fresh baby spinach
1 large roasted red pepper, small dice, get the one from a jar

For herb butter
3 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
1 medium shallot, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, I used parsley, oregano, and thyme
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

For scallops
olive oil
about 12 sea scallops, depending on size and appetites
about 12 scallops, depending on size and appetites

For the sauteed spinach, heat a large pan to medium high heat. Add a good drizzle of olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute. Add the spinach and stir to wilt. Add the red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

For the herb butter, heat a small pan to medium high heat. Add a small piece of butter and the shallot. Saute for about 4 - 5 minutes stirring so they don't burn. Add the wine and reduce for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter a few pieces at a time, thickening the sauce as it cooks. Stir in the herbs, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

For the scallops, heat a pan large enough to hold the scallops without crowding to medium high. Add a small pat of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper and cook on each side for about 1 and 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.

To serve, place a small mound of the spinach on plate. Top with 4 scallops and drizzle with a little of the herb butter. Enjoy!

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