May 31, 2013

My scallops

I have my father to thank for my appreciation of good food. We had similar taste, and with the exception of my mother’s spaghetti sauce (for which she was “famous” - more on that soon), dad, of the parental units, was the better cook. This was a quiet understanding between us, not openly flaunted at home in the suburbs, where my mother's nutritious but unremarkable nurse's food was the norm, but relished on our weekend “bachelor” get-aways at the cabin, where spit-roasted rabbit, grilled lake perch, and quail with wild mushrooms were not unknown, along with open hickory flames, deeply inhaled anticipation, and the occasional spark-stung eyelid.

My local supermarket stocks 24 oz packages of frozen wild-caught Patagonian bay scallops. I keep them on hand for a quick meal, sautéed in a cream sauce over rice:

Sauté about three dozen bay scallops in olive oil with a teaspoon of chopped shallots. When lightly browned, remove scallops from sauté pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with about 1/3 cup of white wine. Add a generous pinch or two of tarragon, a hint of thyme, a dash of salt, and a drop of mustard. When wine is reduced to a scant teaspoon, add a cup of half and half and a few baby green peas. Simmer quietly, (it may foam) stirring often, (I also use a spatula to fold the yummy side scum back into the sauce) about ten minutes, until it is reduced to a nice medium-thick sauce. Turn off heat. Whisk in a couple tablespoons of butter. Add scallops to heat them through. Pour over warm cooked rice, but don’t drown the rice in sauce. Serves two.

This can be made with sliced potatoes instead of rice. Slice cold boiled red potatoes into medium slices. Drizzle with olive oil. Microwave for two minutes. Let stand, covered, while the cream sauce thickens on the stove. Spoon scallops and sauce onto the plated potatoes.

Serve with white wine, salad, and crusty bread.