Earlier this month, Jeff and I got a good deal on a pound of fresh bay scallops at the Torrance Farmers Market. Since I usually cook with large meatier sea scallops, I had to think of a good dish for this smaller variety. Pasta instantly came to mind. So did white wine. Not marinara. Unlike clams or shrimp, I prefer a more subtle sauce to compliment the tender sweetness of scallops.
I’m not one of those cooks who can just whip up a sauce from memory or just as a creative idea. I need to start with a real recipe from which I can at least improvise. So, I started searching around for recipes using scallops and white wine. Fortunately, I quickly stumbled upon a dish from one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten of the Barefood Contessa. Her Scallops Provencal sounded perfect. I just needed to add pasta. The comments and reviews on her recipe indicate that many of her fans have also had that same idea.
I took the advise offered by Ina’s fans and doubled the sauce — not the scallops — in order to make enough to fully coat a family-size portion of pasta. This worked like a charm.
The dish turned out perfect. Delicious. The kids flipped over it and even went back for seconds. The scallops were juicy and tender, and the sauce complimented their flavor instead of overpowering it.
Normally I would not dare to attempt reheating scallops in a microwave, but when we ended up with a small single serving left at the end of the evening, I had to take it to work the next day (microwaving for just 1-1/2 minutes). And you know what? Contrary to some of the reader comments on Ina’s original recipe, the scallops did not get tough at all. The reheated leftovers still tasted fabulous.
Whether you are cooking for a family, want something elegant enough to serve to company or that special someone, or simply need ideas for a quick weeknight dinner, this dish is a sure thing.
- 1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops (I used bay scallops)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided (I used light butter)
- 1 cup chopped shallots (4 large)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ⅔ cup dry white wine
- 2 lemons, cut in ½
- 1 pound cooked angel hair pasta (I used whole wheat)
- *The ingredients are already doubled.
- If you’re using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you’re using sea scallops, cut each 1 in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
- In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Boil the pasta while preparing the scallops and sauce.
- Drain pasta and transfer to a family-size serving bowl. Pour the entire pan of scallops and sauce over the pasta, and toss well to evenly coat.
- Serve immediately.