Monday, February 9, 2009

Seared scallops in lemon-shallot sauce

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
sea salt
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.

To serve:
Divide arugula among four plates.
Put two scallops on each plate.
Drizzle sauce over scallops and arugula.
Serve immediately.

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.


ReesePie said...

I'll have to see what I can do with that from a vegetarian standpoint.

Jill said...

Hmm. I am not sure what would work in here to make it vegetarian? Mushroom? The size and shape would be close. But the flavor would not.
If you come up with something, let me know.

Rachel said...

MMmmmm, have got some scallops in the freezer, haven't known what to do with them and this sounds easy and very tasty, so, thanx!

Michael said...

I just made this and it was excellent. I didn't have all the ingrediants. I used onion for the shallot, italian seasoning for the parsly, and baby greens for the arugala. it was FANTASTIC. i will be making it again. didn't follow the exact amounts. i used a dash and a pinch here and there. only made one serving, but damn it was good. can't wait to impress someone with this easy recipe.

Anonymous said...

Loved this. I used small pearl onion as I had no shallots. Still turned out great. Will do this again.

Anonymous said...

I just tried this recipe as practice and it was delicious! The balance between the lemon and the wine, shallots and garlic was exquisite. I'm glad I bought the shallots since they have a more delicate flavor than regular onions, even pearl onions. My first pan seared scallops rocked! Thanks again.

Marcy said...

We made this last night. Yummy! We took your suggestion of adding angel hair pasta. It made a great main course. The sauce was light and flavorful. Great summer dish. We will make again and serve to friends. Thanks Jill!