Thursday, February 7, 2013

Scallops for Your Sweetie

         This easy but elegant dish has a connection to romance.  The scallop shell is known to be a symbol of the Roman goddess for love - Venus.  Apparently, it's usually part of any painting which portrays her. So what could be better to serve on Valentine's Day than this twist on the classic French dish "Scallops Provencal"? I love mixing it up by adding tomatoes and serving it over pasta. However, this is also very good just on its own - served in a bowl with some warm French bread to dip in the juices.  

Ingredients for four to six people:

3 shallots
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves
2 to 3 tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine (or substitute chicken broth)
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using chicken broth)
2 pounds scallops
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1 lemon
1/2 box (8 oz.) angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions


Remove the skin and dice the shallots.  Peel the garlic cloves and put them through a press.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the shallots.  Saute the shallots over medium low heat until they are soft.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

While the shallots are cooking, chop enough parsley to fill 1/4 cup and squeeze half of the lemon.  Set these aside and then dice the tomatoes.

When the shallots and garlic have finished cooking, add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and wine (or chicken broth).  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

While tomato mixture is simmering, rinse and drain the scallops.  If they are large sea scallops, cut them in half or quarters.  Then add them to the simmering pan and cook for about 10 minutes or until they are opaque throughout.  Try not to over cook them or they will get rubbery.

When scallops are done, add the juice from half of the lemon and the 1/4 cup chopped parsley.  Serve over hot pasta or in a bowl with some crusty French bread. Slice the remaining half of the lemon and use it along with any leftover parsley as garnishes.