This week is about conquering my cooking fears. Obviously I love to cook and hopefully am somewhat good at it, or else I wouldn't be writing this blog. But there are just some things that I feel are better ordered at restaurants, because my perception of their complicated, involved, lengthy preparations have me backed into my figurative kitchen corner. Take scallops for example. I don't mean tiny, fishy bay scallops. I mean gigantic, tender, gorgeous sea scallops. The ones you get at a restaurant like Gulfstream or Napa Valley's FARM, for example, where they're just perfect. So perfect you know anything you do at home will just be a disappointment. They've been pan seared and have a light, golden crust, a perfectly succulent texture and taste like heaven. I love when they come with roasted golden beets (another foodie phobia of mine), marcona almonds and frisee.
Conquering a cooking phobia: Pan-Seared Scallops Provençal
Photo courtesy of OnePerfectBite
So the other day I decided to tackle the shellfish head (or shell) on, spreading out my cookbooks and searching each index for the perfect scallop recipe. I was picky; after all, I figured the better the recipe, the better my chances of success. I found what seemed to be a great recipe from Ina Garten for Scallops Provençal, and while I had low expectations (yet high hopes), I have to say it turned out great!
I was so excited about the result that I actually bought scallops again for tonight. Now I'm going to try, try and try again until I get close to perfect. Most importantly, I'm one kitchen phobia down and only have a few more to go. 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
- 1/3 cup dry white wine (make sure it's good...then drink the rest!)
- 1 lemon, cut in 1/2
A word to the wise: This recipe goes by FAST. Even one extra minute means tough scallops; and no one wants tough, chewy scallops. So make sure you've got everything ready chopped, measured and ready to go before you start.
Sprinkle 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. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Dredge scallops in flour with salt & pepper, then brown in pan
Wash and chop flat leaf parsley
Add shallot, garlic, flat leaf parsley and cook for two minutes. Then add the white wine and let all the flavors come together.
There you have it! Scallops Provençal