THE SCALLOPING GOURMET
It was Saturday and we had nothing planned for Saturday night… no dinner out, no friends over… so I rummaged through the freezer for something to make for our Saturday supper. I pulled out a ham steak and was contemplating on making a cheese pasta ‘to go with” – but Richard had another idea.
After gallivanting around town this week questing for bangers and burgers, he decided he wanted to make a dinner just as delicious, but with a little less ‘pub’ appeal. He went through his recipes (and that’s saying something – he has a gazillion) and chose Barefoot Contessa’s (Ina Garten) Scallops Provencal from her “Barefoot In Paris” cookbook.
My heart skipped a beat – I adore scallops, so I immediately returned the ham steak to the freezer. This dish has so many of my favorite tastes: scallops for starters – then there’s butter, shallots, mushrooms, spinach and Parmesan cheese all mixed together.
As always, we ate by candlelight, but this dish is so elegant, we could have been eating in a truck stop and I would have felt like we were dining in Versailles. Scallops fit not just for a Contessa, but for a Queen… thanks to my “Scalloping Gourmet.”
SCALLOPS WITH MUSHROOMS & SPINACH
Ingredients:20 sea scallops, trimmed of the small hard muscle
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Good olive oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped shallots (3 shallots)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thickly sliced
½ cup dry white wine
8 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees
Pat the scallops dry w/ paper towels and season them generously w/ salt and pepper. Toss the scallops in the flour and shake them to remove any excess flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) sauté pan. When the oil is very hot, add half the scallops and sauté on one side w/out moving until they are browned – about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops and cook for about 2 minutes more so the scallops are still a little raw in the center. Transfer the scallops to a heatproof platter and keep them warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining scallops and add them to the platter in the oven.
Melt the butter in the pan and add the shallots. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning often, until browned and tender. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits w/ a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes to reduce the wine.
Add the spinach to the pan in handfuls, so some of it wilts before adding more.
Toss the spinach with the sauce to help it wilt. When all of the spinach has been wilted, add the spinach mixture to the scallops in the oven. Sprinkle w/ the Parmesan cheese and bake for 3 minutes, until the scallops are just cooked. Sprinkle w/ pepper and serve hot w/ wedges of lemon.
(When making this dish for 2 – you only need to cut down on the scallops. Mushrooms and spinach have “no points” Weight Watcher-wise and few calories.