This extravagant scallop dinner was spectacular! The extravagance part of the dish was the very expensive scallops that we absolutely had to buy after sampling one earlier in the day at my most favorite supermarket.
The House Chef was standing behind a big saute pan in his crisp apron and tall chef’s hat behind the fish counter, giving out samples. If there is one way to sell something as humble as a scallop for exorbitant amounts of money, it is to give out samples cooked to perfection. I could not resist splurging after tasting a tiny morsel. I was further convinced when my daughter closed her eyes as she chewed.
I bought 1 lb of the “dry” scallops which had just come in that very morning. By the way, always buy “dry” over “wet”
“Wet” scallops have been treated with a solution called STP (sodium tripolyphosphate), which helps scallops maintain their moisture. Because of this, they retain their plump appearance and have a longer shelf-life. The problem with that (besides paying more per lb or kg as a result of the added solution weight) is that they are impossible to brown because of all the extra moisture
I also ended up buying the rub which the chef used on them before frying. It had great flavor, so I though I would make my life easier and buy their house rub, instead of inventing my own. I love to have things like this on hand for times of low creativity!
The rest of the shopping centered around how to turn this into a full-fledged dinner, so, I bought the things I love the best (the scallops were way too expensive to scrimp on the rest of the ingredients).
I bought lovely fresh parsley, spinach and rosemary, and I was set.
We all agreed that this dinner was one of the highlights of the year. When sea food is good, it is very very good…
You will need: 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 lb “dry scallops (I had 10 scallops), 2 tbs searing flour (this is an extremely fine flour used to lightly coat fish and meat before frying. It can be found in good supermarkets), 1 tbs spice rub (good quality rub for fish. Old Bay will do in a pinch), 1 medium onion, diced, 1 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves, 2 tbs unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups chicken or veggie broth, 1/2 tsp sea-salt, freshly cracked black pepper, 6 cups fresh spinach leaves, 3/4 lb spaghetti (I use Barilla brand).
1 – First make the broth. Put big saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs of oil. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes.
2 – Add the parsley and rosemary, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
3 – Add the broth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer broth to a bowl and wipe out the pan with a paper towel to use for the scallops.
4 – Put pot of cold water on for pasta and cook according to instructions. Before you drain, place the spinach into the bottom of your colander and when pasta is ready to be drained, pour pasta water and pasta into the colander. This quick-cooks the spinach.
*try to time this to be ready when the scallops are cooked*
5 – Sprinkle the searing flour and spice rub onto a big plate. Lightly coat the scallops on both sides.
6 – Put your pan on medium/high and let the pan get hot before adding the remaining 2 tbs of oil. When the oil is hot, place the scallops in the pan in an even layer. Do not touch the pan for 3 minutes. Turn the scallops and repeat the not touching the pan thing. If you do, you are in danger of them sticking! Turn pan down and add butter. Tilt the pan towards you and baste the scallops with the melted butter.
7 – Turn the heat down to low and return the broth to the pan, followed by the spaghetti and spinach.
Serve immediately in warm shallow bowls.