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We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other. - E.H.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pasta with seared scallops, mushy peas.

I promised myself I would post a recipe along with my long-winded life updates. This is a food blog after- all, non? And this recipe is too good not to share. It's not at all vegan (no matter how much I love my vegan housemates, sometimes I crave scallops.. and butter.. and cream, you know?)

This is a recipe in two parts, and they go too well together to post separately.

Part 1: Pan seared scallops in a white wine cream sauce, served over egg noodles.
Part 2: Mushy peas with fresh mint (the Brits aren't wrong! Mushy peas are delicious.)

This is the kind of meal you should make on a first date, or for your mother or something - super easy, beautiful and guaranteed to win hearts. In my mind, the mushy peas really steal the show here. Mostly because it's so unexpected. I mean, really, who named mushy peas?? It has got to be the most unappealing name out there. Mushy peas are a side dish in need of a good marketing campaign.

Pasta with seared scallops, in a white wine cream sauce:

you'll need:

pasta - we used egg noodles and it was delicious.
1 lb scallops
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/4 milk
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley (or finely chopped spinach)
1/4 cup shallots, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
freshly grated parmesan cheese, for topping.

1. Cook the pasta. While that is happening:
2. Rinse and drain the scallops.
3. Make a roux. If you've never made a roux before it's really easy, and it's pretty much the key to making any kind of a white sauce (the base for cheese sauce, cream sauce, etc). Here it is:
     a) Melt the butter in the pan on low heat
     b) Slowly add the flour to the butter, mashing it around with a rubber spatula. It should form a small
     ball. The idea is to dissolve the flour in the butter and cook it, without letting it burn. This should take
     about a minute.
     c) Slowly add the milk to the flour/butter combo. The small ball should expand to absorb the milk,
     making a thick creamy sauce. Now you have a white sauce, the base of a number of delicious things.
     d) Add the cream. Now you have a cream sauce! Easy.
4. Melt a bit of butter in a different pan and saute the scallops, shallots, parsley and garlic - not too long! Scallops turn into tiny hockey pucks if they're overcooked. We're talking 3 minutes, tops.
5. Add the roux to the scallop mixture and stir well. Add the white wine, and cook over medium heat until the sauce reaches the desired thickness (about 5 minutes).
6. Squeeze fresh lemon into the mixture, add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve over pasta with freshly grated parmesan. Fancy!

Mushy peas with fresh mint:
(Have I mentioned this was so delicious I made it the next day.. and the next? It's that good.)

You'll need:
1/2 lb frozen peas
1 big handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch green onions (so.. 5 or 6 green onions? lots.), finely chopped
1 or 2 dabs of butter

1. Heat olive oil in the pan over medium heat.
2. Add green onions, mint and peas, stirring for 2 minutes.
3. Add a splash of water to the pan and cover. Leave for 5 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through.
(But still tender. No one likes overcooked peas).
4. Mash the peas with a potato masher! Add the butter and mash some more! Then add salt and pepper to taste. Thank the Brits.

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