Like this, which I stumbled upon while trying to explain the ERMAHGERD phenomenon to KnightlyBoyfriend and promptly dissolved into a fit of snorting, uninhibited belly laughter:
As much as I love sharing an apartment with the boy toy (and I miss him so much when he’s gone blah blah blah), hearing that I have the apartment to myself for the occasional evening results in this:
A bottle of wine to myself and UNLIMITED chick flicks? Plus all of Bride Day on the DVR??
But first, I celebrated with a little retail therapy.
Two years ago, Ryan gave me a gift card to Williams Sonoma for my birthday that I foolishly held onto because I wanted to buy the PERFECT kitchen item. I wavered between a dutch oven (HAH. And yes, I’m five.) and a mandolin, and after watching three – ok, ok five straight hours of Chopped my decision became clear. I put on pants, tamed the crazy beast mane, and strutted my big, bad self down to Williams Sonoma where I made out like a MF BANDIT with a mandolin, a new coffee table book, truffle salt (SWEET JESUS), and a few other overpriced kitchen accessories.
Then I stopped by Trader Joe’s and walked aimlessly through the store to decide which foodstuffs were worthy of my new kitchen gadget and borderline-maniacal appreciation for secret single behavior (which, most unfortunately for KnightlyBoyfriend, generally happens regardless of whether I’m home alone…it just reaches new heights when left unbridled for an evening). Finally, the Heavens parted and it became clear what I would be eating with my Cotes du Rhone blanc.
You know how dogs have that spot on their belly that, when rubbed, causes their uncontrollable kicking of the back foot? Scallops are that spot on the belly for me. I love them. I can’t get enough of them. I love that they’re light but meaty and filing, and nothing – NOTHING – beats the sweet, caramelized crust around the edges.
Friends, BEHOLD: Scallops with zucchini and pasta in a lemon, white wine, and garlic sauce. (The zucchini was julienned on the new mandolin!)
(If you want to do a lower calorie version of this, just omit the pasta and double up the zucchini.)
|Scallops with Zucchini Pasta||
- Scallops (4 ounces per person)
- 2 zucchini, julienned (if you choose to omit the pasta, double the amount of zucchini and have zucchini pasta)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 large lemon, cut in half
- 1/4 cup white wine
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese to taste
- Whole wheat pasta (1 serving per person)
- Set a pot of salted water on a burner to boil the pasta. Cook according to package directions.
- Prepare the scallops by removing the adductor muscle or foot from the side (if it hasn’t already been removed, you’ll see it hanging off – just lightly pull it away from the meat). Pat the scallops dry and season on one side with salt.
- In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Once the oil has a shimmer to it (after a minute or two), lightly place the scallops into the pan, seasoned side down. Don’t crowd the pan – do more than one batch if you need to. There should be about an inch of space around each scallop. Lightly season the side facing up.
- After 2-3 minutes, the scallops should pull away from the pan. Flip them onto the other side and allow them to sear for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan.
- Wash any bits from the bottom of the pan and place it back on top of the stove. Add another tablespoon of oil and set the heat to medium low.
- Add the onions to the pan and spread them out in a thin layer across the bottom of the pan. Stir occasionally and allow them to slowly caramelize, a process that takes about ten minutes. After five minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
- Once the onions are soft, translucent, and a little brown, turn up the heat to medium high. Add the zucchini and saute for 2 minutes, until the zucchini becomes slightly pliant. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for an additional minute, stirring as needed.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine. Stir and bring to a quick boil (should happen immediately). Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and stir. Put heat to low and simmer for another minute or two, until the vegetables soak up some of the sauce.
- If you’re adding pasta, now’s the time. Just stir it into the vegetable mixture. If it’s dry, add some of the salted pasta water. Stir in your parmesan to taste.
- To plate, put the pasta into a bowl and top with the desired number of scallops. Lightly squeeze lemon juice onto the tops of the scallops.
I used the mandolin to slice my onion paper thin and to julienne my zucchini. I love it – I’d recommend it to anyone. For forty bucks? It’s basic, but what more do you really need? I can’t WAIT to get my greedy little hands on some eggplant…
Anyway, start by searing the scallops in olive oil over medium-high heat (about 2-3 minutes each side). They’ll pull away from the bottom of the pan when they’re ready to flip, but it’s critical that you heat the oil first.
While that’s going, saute onions and garlic with a little red pepper until translucent and also caramelized.
(Pretty onion ribbons from my new mandolin!!)
When they start turning brown, turn up the heat and add the zucchini.
Once the pan is dry, pour in a splash of wine and the juice of half a lemon. Keep stirring over medium heat for another 3-5 minutes, until the zucchini is wilted but still has a bite to it and the liquid has reduced slightly.
Add in the pasta and toss with parm. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the whole thing and voila!
The whole shebang took all of 20 minutes. Easy for a weeknight, a show-stopper for company, and perfect for nights at home when you’re parking on the couch, sipping wine, and catching up on your lady shows.
Spill it. What’s your secret single behavior?