So the clock is ticking, and you still have no idea what to make for date night (or in this case, Valentines’ Day) dinner. Ack! You want something elegant, but simple. Something that will “WOW” your date. Something that you would order if you were at a fancy restaurant, but normally never try on your own. Well, stop the search. I’m here for you. It’s all going to be fine, and you’re going to look like a genius to that special someone.
Scallops. Sounds hard, but in reality, one of the easier things to make. They can be served as a main course, or as an appetizer. Super versatile, and super sexy (yes, I said they’re sexy). They get the “Ooo, I’m so impressed! Did you order in?” reaction from your dinner companion. It makes you look like a whiz in the kitchen. Basically, it gets you points right out of the gate. Score!
A special dish like this calls for the right wine to compliment the sweetness of the scallops. I am a big fan of Viognier. I have just discovered the Akiyoshi Vigonier out of California. It’s light, crisp, and has a light acidity that balances really well with the scallops. Note that if you are serving the scallops with something like a potato or parsnip puree, the creamy texture of that base, especially if it also has butter in it, may do better with a Chardonnay (I like the Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay). Just be sure it’s not overly oaked, as oak flavor in the wine can easily overpower the delicate flavor of the scallops themselves.
This is another one of those recipes that is nearly embarrassing in the simplicity of preparation. So take the credit, let your dinner companion fawn over you, and enjoy.
Seared Scallops for Two
The beauty of scallops as an ingredient is that you don't need a ton of them to make an impressive dish. They are silky, creamy, sweet and just downright special.
Preheat iron skillet to medium high. Add olive oil to pan.
Place scallops on a paper towel and pat them dry. This is important to ensure you get a good sear on the scallops when you cook them.
Lightly salt & pepper the scallops on both sides.Gently place each scallop in the pan, being careful no to crowd the pan as the scallops need room to be flipped easily. Sear on the first side for 5 minutes, or until the scallops easily release from the pan.
Flip scallops and cook for 2 minutes. Add the thyme and butter to the pan. Baste the scallops with the butter for an additional 2 minutes.
Plate the scallops over a bed of arugula or other greens, and serve immediately. Alternatively, you can serve them as a main course over a parsnip puree or polenta.
1.The note about drying the scallops prior to searing is an important one. If they still have too much moisture on them, they won't sear correctly, and will stick to the pan. It's an easy, extra step that really makes a difference in the final product.
2. When shopping for scallops, don't go for the tiny ones--make sure you get the jumbo scallops if available. And if they're still frozen, move on to something else. If they've been previously frozen (which most proteins in the grocery store have been at some point), that's OK. Just make sure they don't have a strong "fishy" smell when you purchase them. They should smell salty/briny and "clean". If you start with that, you are ready for a fantastic meal!
Greetings! I'm Dee Dee. Nonprofit escapee, military spouse, home cook, and purveyor of tasty goodness. My Midlife Kitchen is where I cook, blog, and give my not-so-humble opinions on topics big and small. Join me for a peek inside My Midlife Kitchen!