We had a great St. Patrick’s Day, did you? We spent the day at the beach, eating lots of yummy food and building sand castles. My husband commented that only in Hawaii would you have corned beef and cabbage along with ahi poke on the same plate :) Our little leprechaun has started crawling and is getting into all kinds of mischief…I love him so!
I read Dinner, A Love Story recently. It’s a wonderful book that centers around helping families get back to the dinner table together. I’ve been trying really hard to make sure our family eats dinner together – to start a routine of sitting down and talking about our days. This is sometimes an act of God with a three year old and a seven month old :) But our daughter has actually started asking, “Did you have a good day at work, Dad?” when we sit down, so I think that’s progress!
The book really struck me because it’s written by a mom who has found recipes that work for their busy lifestyle! She actually keeps a diary of every dinner they eat, and then annotates it with whether it’s a keeper or what she would do next time. She also does that for their big parties – what was a hit, what wasn’t, how much they should make the next time, etc. After many years, she has some tried and true recipes that they keep going back to, that their kids will eat (with some modifications) and that are really healthy and satisfying. There are recipes from the days before kids, the early stages after kids when life was kind of crazy, and the later stages when they could actually think about entertaining again :)
This recipe for seared scallops with corn and bacon hash totally jumped out at me! I love scallops. Whenever I see them on a menu, I almost always order them. There’s just something about really good buttery scallops with a little bit of a crisp on the outside. Despite my love for them, I’ve actually never made them at home. I’ve always been intimidated by them; but after reading through Jenny’s recipe, which seemed pretty simple, I decided to give it a try. The secret is really dry scallops and a really hot pan!
Start by patting your sea scallops dry. I took my time with this, because if you don’t get them dry, then they won’t sear well and get that nice crispy outside. Remove the tough muscle that is sometimes present on the side, and then add some salt and pepper to both sides. I also prepared some shrimp because I didn’t think I had enough scallops to feed five people…sometimes you gotta improvise :)
Next, add some butter and olive to a pan and get it good and hot. Add your scallops and cook about 1.5 – 2 minutes per side. I found that a really thin spatula was the best for turning, because it didn’t remove that nice sear that you worked so hard for! Next time, I would use a bigger pan so I didn’t have to do so many batches. When you are done with the scallops, set them aside. To the pan, add some garlic and a little bit more butter to those lovely brown bits on the bottom. Then add some white wine and lemon juice, and reduce it down until you have a thickened sauce. The smell of the scallops, butter, wine and garlic was amazing :)
I also made the corn and bacon hash that Jenny recommends as a side. It’s so simple – just crisp up some bacon, then dice it up. To the pan, add a shallot and cook until tender, then add in some fresh or frozen corn kernels and some fresh basil, salt and pepper. Top your hash with the cooked scallops and pour the sauce all over. I loved the freshness of this meal…the buttery scallops combined with the fresh summery flavors of corn and basil, and that little bit of a salty bite from the bacon…heavenly!
Seared Scallops with Corn and Bacon Hash
From Dinner, A Love Story
20-24 large sea scallops, patted dry, small muscle removed from the side
Salt and pepper
3 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 T lemon juice
Pat your scallops dry with paper towels. Make sure to get the scallops as dry as possible, so they will sear well. Remove the little muscle on the side (if present) and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over medium high heat with 1 T of the butter and 1 T of olive oil. Get the pan really nice and hot, then add in your scallops, cooking about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Make sure when you turn the scallops to try to get the crust to come with it, a thin spatula worked best for me. Remove the scallops to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, and add your remaining 2 T of butter and the minced garlic, cooking for about 30 seconds, making sure not to burn the garlic. Then turn the heat up to high, add in your white wine and lemon juice, and watch the sauce closely as it boils and reduces down until just syrupy, not too thick. Remove from the heat and pour over your scallops. Serve immediately with corn and bacon hash, and a simple salad with crusty bread for dipping :)
Corn and Bacon Hash
1 piece bacon, cooked and diced (I used 2 pieces of turkey bacon)
1 small shallot, minced
4 ears of corn, kernels removed (I used one large bag of frozen corn)
5 basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a separate pan, cook one slice of bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel, then chop into small pieces. In the remaining bacon grease, cook one minced shallot until just tender. Add in the corn and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl, and add in your basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
Are there any things that you always order when you see it on a menu?
For me, it’s scallops, shrimp, and bread pudding :)