Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Seared Scallops with Browned-Butter Lemon Sauce

My gentleman and I didn't bother making any plans for New Year's because we assumed we'd go to the usual parties and/or bars to celebrate. But everyone is getting old and planned to stay home, or they were out of town, and suddenly we were left without plans. We thought about having a party at our house but that didn't work either. So then we thought about going out to a Fancy Dinner at a Fancy Restaurant, but when you're 48 hours away from New Year's Eve, there are approximately zero reservations available.

So yesterday my gentleman said, "We both love to cook. We can easily just make a Fancy Dinner here at home." And so that is what we did. I got to the grocery store at 8pm, just as the seafood man was packing up, and got six large sea scallops. There were no lobster tails or crab legs, but whatever. I also found a filet mignon for my gentleman. Didn't know what I was going to do with these things, but I found them and at 8pm on a holiday we can't be picky, so I brought them home.


Here is what we did:
-I found a recipe for scallops**, which I will post below. They were primarily for myself but I threw two on my gentleman's plate to make his a surf-and-turf.
-Gentleman cooked his steak as he cooks all his steaks: seared it with some Northwoods seasoning from Penzeys, finished under the broiler in the oven.
-Homemade chive mashed potatoes
-Wine and beer

**I should note: I cooked these scallops goddamned perfectly. I was so proud of myself.

It was yummy, it was fun, and we certainly saved a lot of money. Plus there was something so wonderful about just being with him and having our own private New Year's celebration.

Happy 2014! Let's try to make more recipes this year.


Seared Scallops with Browned-Butter Lemon Sauce
Handle the Heat blog, adapted from Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

For the scallops:
1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops, tendons removed and patted very dry
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the sauce:
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, swirling constantly, until the butter turns a dark golden brown color and has a nutty aroma, about 4 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Add the shallot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the parsley, thyme, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the saucepan with a lid to keep warm.

For the scallops:
Sprinkle the dry scallops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of the scallops in a single layer, flat side down, and cook, without moving, until well browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet. Using tongs, carefully flip the scallops and continue to cook until the sides of the scallops are firm and the centers are opaque, 30 to 90 seconds. Remove the scallops to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Wipe out the skillet and repeat cooking with the remaining oil, scallops, and butter. Serve immediately with browned butter sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

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