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Simply put, I love food. I revel in everything about it: taste, texture, preparation, presentation, etc. The most favored aspect for me is the social aspect of food…learning to cook from one’s mother, preparing food with friends, grilling out, potlucks, dinner parties or simply meeting for dinner. I light up watching the people I love eat the food that I create. It still truly amazes me how food brings us together. So a little about me. Now in my early 30s, I’ve learned all I know about cooking from my mother and grandmothers. My Midwestern roots are definitely reflected in my cooking style and the recipes that I choose as I am very “meat and potatoes” centric and heavy handed with the butter sometimes. More later, but for now Happy Nomming!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Who Knew I Could Make Scallops? SCALLOPS!

So preparing fish or seafood of any type frankly scares the bejeebus out of me, if I'm being honest. It's tricky (or so I thought!) and if you screw it up, you've just thrown away a small fortune in dry or chewy or par-cooked fish.  Scallops are no exception to this rule, at least not for me.  I'll make cheap grocery store tilapia all day long  (Make = season and throw in the cast iron skillet and bake it), but anything more challenging gave me the cold sweats.
Why now?  Why did I brave the unknown and expensive meaty mollusk?  Well, here's the thing folks, food cravings can be very ugly sometimes.  Alone these cravings can be manageable.  However, when coupled with the yearnings of others, the force is out of control. 
So here's the short version:  One of my new favorite terms is 'love food.'  See I started dating this amazing guy and as one does (I'm saying it like that so it seems normal to cook copious amounts of baked goods for a person your interested in.  Totally normal, right?), I bake for him. And bake for him and bake some more.  Being generous, he takes a lot of these baked goods to work to share.  One of the women in the office asked him, after the 3rd or 4th pan of brownies, cake or cookies showed up, who was baking him all of this "LOVE FOOD?"  I think I latched on to it because she's right! Personally, I'm holding my mother accountable for this trait. Love you, MOM!
So both having an untamed craving for sea scallops (I think bay scallops are weak and rubbery, but don't tell them I said that.), I went to my local fresh fish market.  **Ok, yes I live in the Midwest and yes, mine is a landlocked state, but with the miracle of technology and scorcery, we too can enjoy FRESH seafood.
With that, I shall blame him for this although it's a good 'blame'.  Really more like, give him credit because this buttery little dudes were delcious! This, my friends, is LOVE food:

Sea Scallops with Bacony White Beans & Spinach.  Oh! and LEMON*

3 tasty pieces of bacon, chopped into 1/4" chunks of goodness
1/2 of an onion, diced (I used white, but sweet would be good as well)
1 clove of garlic, minced
3-4 cups of spinach (1 bag of fresh spinach should do the trick)
1 lb of sea scallops (8-10)
2 T butter
Juice of one lemon

Heat a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook the bacon until crispy and your house smells of angels. Add the onion and garlic; saute until the onion is soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the white beans and spinach and simmer until the beans are hot.  Reduce heat to low, add spinach and cover to keep warm while you sear some scallops! Heat a large cast-iron skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Blot the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Melt butter in your skillet and add scallops.  Sear each side for approximately 2-3 minutes, until deeply caramelized.  Add the lemon juice to the beans and plate (2-4 servings depending on how hungry your crowd is.  The two of us killed the scallops and left some spinach mess behind). Top white beans and spinach with seared scallops and serve.

*Let's be realistic.  Having never made a scallop in my life, I did not brave this without some direction.  I modified this recipe from Women's Health.

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