Friday, January 6, 2012

Sea Scallops in White Wine Sauce

My husband's birthday was Wednesday, and to celebrate, I experimented a bit in the kitchen with one of his favorite food items - sea scallops.  He loves scallops of all shapes and sizes.  Usually I use bay scallops, which are the little ones, because the sea scallops are on the pricier end of things.  But I splurged a bit because he's such a wonderful husband.

The result was beautiful and tasty.

You could serve this over your pasta of choice or over brown or white rice.  It's really quite easy and rather fancy, so if you have a special occasion to celebrate it's worth the price of the scallops.  It may take a couple attempts to get the scallops right - there's a very fine line between undercooked, tender, and overcooked, and you're more likely to err on the overcooked side due to food safety fears.

Sea Scallops in White Wine Sauce
Ingredients (to serve 2)

  • 1/2 pound sea scallops, fresh or frozen (thawed), blotted dry with a paper towel
  • 1/2 pound white button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dry white wine (a pinot grigio works wonderfully)
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (more according to taste preferences)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano or thyme
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup baby spinach
Prepare the mushrooms to saute by either slicing (if they're on the large side) or in quarters (if they're small).  Heat 1 and 1/2 tablespoons each of butter and oil in a 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  When the butter has melted and the skillet is hot, saute the mushrooms until tender and browned.  Remove from skillet.

Turn the heat down to medium and add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet.  When the butter's foam begins to subside, add the shallots and garlic.  Saute until browned, about five minutes.  The shallots will begin to caramelize slightly.

Nestle the scallops in among the shallots. Sprinkle the tops with paprika, pepper, and oregano.  Saute two to three minutes on each side.

Add the wine and lemon juice.  Let simmer for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a beurre manie with one tablespoon each softened butter and flour.  Basically you're mashing the two together to make a thick paste.

Remove the scallops from the skillet.  Increase heat to medium high, bringing the liquids to a boil for two to three minutes.

Whisk in the beurre manie.  It will seize up a bit, but then it will begin to quickly thicken.  If it's too thick for your tastes, and another 1/4 cup each of lemon juice and white wine.

Return the scallops and mushrooms to the skillet.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer three to five minutes.

Add baby spinach to the skillet and gently press down into the sauce.  Cook five minutes, wilting the spinach.

That's it!

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