Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scallops for a Sad Night

I had planned to drive up to Cleveland to spend the night and make Jeannene a nice dinner on Sunday, since our office is closed Monday. But then I realized that since my senior pastor will be out of town, I need to stick close to home. So, my solution was to drive up last night after Coffee Shop Hours and make her special dinner then. I ended up driving up in some pretty scary weather and, by being out of our neighborhood, saved my car from broken windows and big dings in the hail storm that destroyed the siding on the house and shredded the screens, breaking a few windows, as well. I stopped by Dorothy Lane Market for a pint of Jeni's brown butter almond brittle ice cream, my current favorite. I had already promised that to Jeannene. When she called to tell me our dog had died (apparently a heart attack...she was about 10, we think, so not too shocking, but still a rough night), I knew my vegan boy would need a treat, too, so I picked up a pint of chocolate Coconut Bliss. The DLM folks were nice enough to give me ice packs to tuck in the hot/cold insulated bag I bought and the ice cream made it to Cleveland with minimal meltage. Despite the storminess (I drove much of the way with a sharp eye on the quality of the clouds and another eye looking for the best ditch in which to fling myself should a funnel cloud appear), I kept the A/C on and I think it helped the successful ice cream transport operation.

When I arrived, I commenced cooking. Jeannene had requested scallops and asparagus. I decided to sear both. The recipe I used for the scallops called for dredging them in flour before cooking. I am not sure that was a brilliant idea, as the flour tended to brown nicely and then slip off the scallops, leaving them denuded. Jeannene loved them anyway, but I believe I would skip that step next time. Otherwise, everything was delicious! I am tempted to make the asparagus again tonight. The entire menu was seared scallops on butter lettuce salad with avocado & grapefruit, pan-seared asparagus and parmesan rice. The first two are my adaptations of Sara Moulton recipes, the last a rice dish my mom made when I was a kid. I've been making it since high school myownself.

Seared Scallops on Butter Lettuce with Avocados & Grapefruit

1 c. Wondra/flour (I used Wondra)

1/2 lb. medium sea scallops

Salt & pepper

1/2 c. oil (I would use olive oil next time)

Juice of 1/2 pink grapefruit

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (Moulton recommends rice vinegar, which was not to be found in Jeannene's cupboard)

A pinch of sugar

Sections from half a pink grapefruit

1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1 avocado, chopped

1 scallion, green part only, sliced

1/4 c. sunflower seeds

Mix salt and pepper with the flour in a large Ziploc. Add scallops and shake to coat, shaking off excess flour as you remove them from the bag (or, just season the scallops with the salt and pepper and have done with it, as I wish I'd done). Heat 2 tbsp. oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Saute scallops 2-3 minutes per side, to attain a golden sear. Meanwhile, simmer the grapefruit juice to reduce it to 2 tbsp. Whisk in shallot, vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve salt & sugar. Gradually whisk in 6 tbsps oil. Toss the lettuce with 1/3 c. of the dressing. Divide between 2 plates. Top with scallops, avocado and grapefruit. Sprinkle with scallions & sunflower seeds. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Serves 2 with some leftovers for lunch.

Pan-Seared Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus

1/2 oz. shaved parmesan (the originial recipe calls for grated, which might work better, but either is fine. Just make sure you use the good stuff and not the parm from the green canister)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch fleur de sel (plain ol' kosher salt is fine, too. That's what Moulton calls for, we just happened to have fleur de sel)

Juice of 1/2 lemon


Heat oil on high heat (yes, really) in a large skillet. Add asparagus and salt and cook, covered but stirring often to avoid burning, for a couple minutes. Add the rest and serve hot. Serves 2 with some leftovers for the next day.

Parmesan Rice

2/3 c. jasmine rice

1 & 1/3 c. water


2 tbsp. butter

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 c. grated parmesan

1 egg, lightly beaten


Put rice in pan with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook about 14 minutes, until cooked through with water absorbed. Add butter and stir to melt. Mix rest together and add to rice. Cook 5 minutes. Serves 2 with leftovers.

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