Friday, July 19, 2013

Pan Seared Scallops

Pan seared scallops with pasta and greens sauteed with garlic. This is a great dish to make when you have little time. It looks very nice and because it is very light it is a great meal for those hot summer days. The fast cooking will get you away form the stove fast. 

To make this and any seafood dish the ingredients are key. I find the best seafood at local family owed seafood markets. Seafood from the big chain grocery stores is almost always a disappointment. I look for large fresh sea scallops. They are sweet, delicate and incomparable in flavor.


* I usually use a half lb of scallops per person. The following is for four persons. Adjust accordingly. 

  • 2lbs sea scallops 
  • One bunch of broccoli rabe, spinach or other hearty greens.  (lightly blanched) 
  • One whole head of garlic (chopped fine) 
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh or dry oregano
  • Grated locatelli cheese
  • butter and or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. 
First drain the scallops of any juice they may be in. Pat them dry and set them aside,Start some salted boiling water for the pasta. Cavtaelli works best but any pasta is great with pan seared scallops.
Put a saute pan large enough to fit all of the ingredients on the stove over medium high heat. Let the pan get smoking hot. The hotter the better. Have a plate ready near by for removing the scallops after they are cooked. Once the pan is super hot add some veg, peanut oil or better yet rendered butter (gee) Then immediately add some of the scallops. Remember the ancient Chinese proverb: "Hot wok cold oil food wont stick" Be sure not to put too many scallops in at once and crowd the pan or make the temp drop too much. Also be sure the pan and ingredients do not burn. Remove the pan from heat as needed to control this. Let them sear until light to dark brown, then turn them over and do the same on the other side. It happens very quickly so don't walk away. I usually do four or six scallops at once then I remove them to the plate. 

Meanwhile cook the pasta until it is almost done. You will cook it a bit more in the pan with sauce. 

After all of the scallops are done lower the heat to medium low and add the chopped garlic with a little rendered butter or olive oil. stir around a bit so the garlic does not burn. Once it is lightly browned de-glaze the pan with the white wine. All fo that brown stuff left in the pan is the main flavor profile you are looking for. De-glazing with wine will lift it into your sauce. Next add the oregano, greens salt and pepper. Let this simmer for a min or so and then return the scallops to the pan. Simmer for another min or so and remove from heat.

Once again remove the scallops to the holding plate. Now put the semi cooked pasta into the pan with the greens and sauce. Lightly toss and simmer for a bit and add a bit of water if needed.

Plate the pasta and greens and arrange the scallops on the bed of pasta. Top with grated parm cheese. 

Wonderful summer fare that is simple, fast and DELICIOUS!