I’m in a bit of a celebratory mood today. No, I’m not celebrating the arrival of spring, although that would be wondrous were it true. It is snowing at the moment, and I fear that spring is perhaps a ways off yet for those of us in the Midwest.
I am actually celebrating something much more significant and momentous than the onset of spring. If you have read my little bio, then you know that we are incredibly lucky to live within minutes (or even closer than that) to our 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren (oh, and a couple or very groovy sons-in-law). A couple of years ago we moved my parents here from California, but that still left our son, his wife and our new grandchild in Boulder, Colorado. We always figured two out of three isn’t bad and Colorado’s not THAT far away.
But as I said, all that changed a few months ago, and right now we are traveling to Boulder to help said son and very groovy daughter-in-law pack up and make the big move to Nebraska. Pretty cool, huh? They’re going to be building a home only steps away from us, so this is one VERY happy Grandma!
So to celebrate this happiest of occasions, we’re going to talk about scallops. Not just any scallops, mind you. No, we’re talking about Scallops Provencal, which I believe totally rock the scallop world.
What began as one of Ina Garten’s recipes, has been re-made to suit my own beliefs about how scallops should be cooked. And yes, I was as surprised as you might be to find so many problems with the original recipe. Most of Ina’s dishes are spot on.
Be that as it may, I will give you my recipe, along with a link to the original, and you can see what changes were made and decide for yourself how you might wish to proceed. But I was totally in agreement with Ms. Garten as to the ingredients (OK, I did add a little fresh thyme). But the simplicity of this recipe is what I love most here… it was rather mind-boggling to us how only a handful of ingredients could create such incredible flavors.
It was also mind-boggling how quick and easy it is to throw this together. It really can be done in like 20 minutes, tops. And you can either serve your scallops right out of the pan with some good bread to sop up those pan juices, which are so amazingly scrumptious. Or you can place your scallops on top of some angel hair pasta and let those pan juices seep down in and create one of the best pasta sauces you’ve maybe had in a while.
Either way, if you’ve got some celebrating to do, scallops provencal just brings the party home. Here’s the recipe…
1 pound fresh sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (optional)
½ cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper1
lemon, cut in half
Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Brown lightly on 1 side without moving them (this takes about 2 minutes), then turn and brown lightly on the other side (another 2 minutes).
Remove the scallops to a plate and set aside.
Melt the rest of the butter in the pan and add the shallots and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to reduce the wine a bit.
Add the scallops back into the pan along with the parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes or so to finish cooking the scallops and allow the flour to thicken the sauce a bit.
Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Optional serving suggestion…
Cook ¾ lb of angel hair pasta for 3-4 minutes in well-salted water, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Drizzle liberally with olive oil or butter and about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir in a good handful of parmesan cheese, lots of cracked black pepper and chopped parsley.
Place the pasta in a serving bowl and top with the scallops, allowing the pan juices to mingle with the pasta. Drizzle with a squeeze or two of lemon juice.