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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