April 24, 2010
I wanted something a little bit decadent, for celebration purposes.
You might, like me, be constantly setting aside recipes to try “at some point,” bookmarking blogs and clipping features from the paper, folding down the corners of magazines and dotting the edges of your cookbooks with those handy little sticky flags. Even cooking as much as I do, all of those recipe ideas start to pile up and threaten to overwhelm. Because, let’s face it, most of the time, we come home to cook and are tired, hungry, and working with whatever ingredients we have on hand. We cook from the hip, or rely on tried-and-true standby recipes we practically know by heart.
I think that’s why it feels like such decadence, such a giddy experiment, to go to the store and buy ingredients specifically to cook a particular dish. Especially if you are cooking with something for the first time, as was the case for me with scallops.
Scallops are a favorite of photographer Sonya, but I had always assumed they were a “fussy” ingredient best left to the professionals. Turns out that isn’t at all the case; this dish came together in about twenty minutes but tasted incredibly decadent and restaurant-worthy.
And what are we celebrating? Why the new, improved, shmancy-pants Blue Jean Gourmet, of course! Website changes have been in the works for a couple of months now, but I tried to keep them a secret because there’s nothing that drives me crazy more than someone announcing “Big changes coming soon! Stay tuned!” Much more satisfying to just be able to SHOW you the big changes, no?
We’re still working out some kinks, which is kinda how these things go, so your patience, comments, and suggestions are all very much appreciated. Please update any bookmarks or links—we are now, officially, www.bluejeangourmet.com
Heartiest thanks to all those who helped with this process: my friend Jason Prater, who created my beautiful logo, Gus Tello & Melanie Campbell-Tello, who dreamed up this beautiful design, & their CSS ninja Zane, who brought it all to life.
I think the new look will take some getting used to, like looking at pictures of yourself from a wedding or fancy event. “Who is that person?” It feels a little bit like that…my little blog, all dressed up.
SCALLOPS WITH CREAM AND BASIL
If your mom is a seafood lover, you might want to bookmark this one for Mother’s Day. We served the scallops with crusty bread, but they could easily go over pasta, rice, or Israeli couscous. A lovely Farmers Market salad on the side would complete things nicely.
8-12 sea scallops, dried well with a paper towel
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped shallots (substitute red onion)
1 large garlic clove, sliced thinly
big handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
a pinch of dried red chili flakes
salt & pepper
Melt 4 T of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. (Don’t use nonstick, or the scallops won’t brown.) Sprinkle the scallops with salt & pepper. After the butter foams, add the scallops. Brown the scallops on both sides, adjusting the heat as necessary. The goal here is a nice crust on both sides of the scallops—don’t worry about cooking them all the way through.
Remove the scallops from the pan & set aside. Turn down the heat & add the last 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Add the shallots, garlic, & red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until the shallots soften.
Add the wine and raise the heat so that the mixture will bubble and reduce down by half. Add heavy cream and again, reduce the sauce. When the liquid is nice and thick, return the scallops, with any accumulated juices, to the pan.
Cook for a minute or two more, stirring in half of the basil, until the scallops are firm. Taste and add salt & pepper if necessary. Serve the scallops with sauce, garnishing with the remaining basil.