Monday, February 9, 2009
Cravings are funny things. Where do they come from? Why one thing and not another?
I get cravings a lot. Popcorn, chocolate, steak, cheese.
They just pop up for no particular reason.
But my recent craving for scallops... That I can blame on "Top Chef."
They have been cooking a lot of scallops on that show this season.
"It'sa notta 'Toppa Scallopsa!' It'sa 'Toppa Chefa!" according to contestant Fabio.
So when I was planning dinner yesterday, I decided to give in to the craving and make a scallop appetizer.
Seared scallops in lemon-shallot sauce
Makes 4 appetizer servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 large scallops
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
about 4 small handfuls of baby arugula
Heat oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat.
Lightly salt and pepper the scallops on both sides.
Add scallops to pan. To get a good sear and good color on them, do not move the scallops.
After about 2 minutes, turn the scallops over and let the other side sear about 2 minutes.
Remove scallops from pan and place in a covered bowl to keep them warm.
Turn heat down to medium and add butter to melt.
Add shallots and garlic; saute 1 minute.
Add wine and lemon juice, cooking 1-2 minutes until liquid reduces by about half.
Stir in parsley.
Return the scallops to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce.
Divide arugula among four plates.
Put two scallops on each plate.
Drizzle sauce over scallops and arugula.
This was perfect.
The flavors were all perfectly balanced: just enough lemon, just enough garlic. And the shallots were sweet and not too strong of an onion flavor.
I thought about using mixed baby salad greens, but went with baby arugula for its slight peppery flavor and the fact that it does well when wilted a bit by the warm sauce.
I could eat this all the time.
It probably would also make a very nice main dish to make extra sauce and a couple more scallops each and serve it all, including the arugula, over a bed of angel hair pasta.
I have made scallops before, but this is the best preparation I have tried as far as ease and taste go.