It’s a beautiful Sunday here In New York and even though I should be doing some work, I feel like blogging instead. We went and got a load of great fresh vegetables at the farmer’s market in Goshen on Friday and then went to Adams Farms and got some meat and seafood so we are all set for meals this week. For tonight, I decided to make a couple of new recipes for us. I picked up some bay scallops that were on sale this week. They are the smaller scallops, and less expensive than the sea scallops. I don’t normally buy them because they usually aren’t chemical free, but these were so I decided to go for them. I found a good-looking recipe from Ina Garten for this one and decided to use that with some slight modifications. I cut this recipe in half from what is shown since there are only 3 of us for dinner tonight.
Bay Scallop Gratin
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium shallots, minced
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, minced (I am actually using bacon instead, fried and minced)
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Pernod (I am using vermouth instead)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (homemade or panko work best for this recipe)
6 tablespoons dry white wine
2 pounds bay scallops
Lemon, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 6 gratin dishes on a sheet pan (I personally don’t own any gratin dishes, but I do have small ramekins I have used for pot pies, creme brulee, etc and I think these would work just as well, just make sure what you have is broiler safe if you plan to use the broiler later in the recipe).
To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer, which I am using because I didn’t want to lug out the Kitchen Aid). With the mixer on low-speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. When the mixer is still on low, add the olive oil slowly as though you were making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold the breadcrumbs in with a rubber spatula and set aside.
Place one tablespoon of the white wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and distribute them evenly among the dishes. Spoon the garlic butter mixture evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want a crustier top, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes until browned to your liking. Finish the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
A couple of notes on this recipe. Substituting bacon for the prosciutto is a convenience thing for me. I didn’t have any prosciutto and it can be kind of expensive, so I went with what I had. If you want the taste you get from the prosciutto, go for it. I also did not have any Pernod, which is a licorice-tasting liqueur. I couldn’t see buying a bottle just for 2 tablespoons, so I asked around on Twitter to some chefs on Food Network. Scott Conant replied to me to either leave it out completely or you can substitute in some vermouth instead. Amanda Freitag suggested using Sambuca instead, but warned it could be too sweet. I decided to go with the vermouth, but I think you could just as easily not use anything at all.
With all these fresh veggies I bought on Friday, I wanted to make something with them. I decided to go for a ratatouille. Now, ratatouille seems to be somewhat of an old-fashioned recipe and a lot of the time, it just doesn’t turn out well. The veggies get too soggy and it can be a bit of pain to saute a bunch of vegetables separately and then combine everything. I found a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that recommends roasting the ratatouille, which sounded ideal to me, so I gave it a try.
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red onion, halved and sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, with 1/2 cup juice reserved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the eggplant, squash, onion, tomatoes with reserved juice, oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Spread the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Roast until the vegetables have softened and are browned in spots, about 1 hour, stirring thoroughly halfway through the cooking time. Sprinkle with the vinegar before serving.
Again, I cut this recipe in half so it would fit just the 3 of us and it all worked out well. Normally, roasting vegetables doesn’t always work out too well since each can roast at different speeds. The temperature of the oven and length of cooking time seemed just right to keep everything from getting soggy and I didn’t have to spend a lot of time at the stove watching the vegetables, which was nice. This makes a great vegetarian dinner dish on its own if you wanted to do that.
We also had some rice with meal to round things out. Michelle made a small batch of her Potato Leek Soup, which was great also.
Tomorrow I am planning to make the yellowfin tuna I bought. I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I am sure it will be something simple. Check back and see what I come up with. Until then, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!