Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wilted Arugula Salad with the WORKS

So...want to make a salad that is both green but gluttonous? I have the answer. This wilted arugula salad (which I half stole from a restaurant where I ordered it and then doctored a bit on my own) will leave guests asking for seconds and thirds.

For starters, you need to make your own dijon vinaigrette, which is really easy. One part olive oil, one part lemon juice, one part stone ground dijon (Grey Poupon totally works) and one part white balsamic vinegar. Then add a pinch of splenda/sugar, whisk vigorously and taste. Too tart, more splenda, too sweet, more mustard. You can make this ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge, but whisk it again before serving.

Next, you want to take the arugula and cook it for a few minutes in a little olive oil and white wine over a medium heat in a large, sauté pan. Once it is wilted, remove it from the heat and put the arugula aside. Then using the same pan, lightly toast pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, chopped shallots and sliced prosciutto. (The restaurant version used bacon, so believe me, that works too!)

It just screams to be devoured!
Once its all warm, top the arugula with the goodness from the pan and then pour the vinaigrette over the salad and lightly mix it all together. Remember, just enough dressing to get it damp - the goal is not to soak the salad and make a pool in the dish. Lastly, I cracked some white peppercorns on top.

Plated perfection.
You might notice that I also added in some mixed greens (radicchio, spinach, etc.) for a little more greenery since I'd underestimated the arugula count! Luckily, it all works well together, but in the future I'll stick to just the one leaf. 

- Melissa

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pan-seared Scallops with Spinach, Lemon Fettucine

Scallops are awesome...but only if they are high quality sea scallops and are cooked perfectly. If not, they came be like tiny, sandy hockey pucks - and no one wants that. So before we begin, you need to get large sea scallops (half dollar size at least) from the fish market or the fish counter at the grocery store. Not frozen, not the tiny bag full of 45 scallops - those won't work, trust me.

So first lesson first....heat your pan properly!! I'm talking a silver frying sauté pan, turned to high heat and let it heat for at least 5 minutes. You don't want it to smoke, but you want it close. While that is happening, you need to make sure that the scallops are drained...they should have some moisture in them, but not be soaked; next, lightly season them with salt and pepper. Next coat the pan with a little grape seed oil (highest heat ability) and then place the scallops in - they should sizzle from the moment they touch metal. If they don't, the pan is not hot enough so remove them and continue heating.

Let the scallops cook about 3 minutes per side and then peek at the side touching the pan. It should be forming a nice, brown crust (as illustrated below). If it is not, let it sit for another minute and then flip them and do the same to the other side. Resist the urge to move the scallops around in the pan though other than the mandatory flip! To get the crust, you need to let them sit still. Finally, squeeze some lemon juice over the scallops right before you remove them from the pan.

Served with fresh lemon-basil fettuccine, sautéed spinach, roasted garlic cloves, lemon zest and some shaved parmesan.

- Melissa

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