As much as I love scallops, they are just not something we eat very often. Scallops tend to be very expensive in terms of the fish for sale today. For sea scallops in my area they are generally priced in the twenty dollars and up per pound range, and that may be for scallops that are not even that good. If I am going to spend that much money for scallops, I want to make sure they are of good quality. I always get dry scallops, meaning they are not scallops that have been soaked in a solution to help them look nice and white and to plump them up, making them have a lot of water. When you buy “wet” scallops, they release all of the solution and liquid when they cook, making it almost impossible to get a good sear on them and instead they steam in all that liquid, making them rubbery. It is worth the extra effort if you are going to get sea scallops to make sure you get dry scallops or scallops labeled chemical-free. In any case, I got my dry scallops from Hudson Valley Seafood and set about finding a new recipe to try. I had already picked up my vegetables at the farmer’s market as well and had a nice spaghetti squash I purchased, so this recipe from Martha Stewart came along at just the right time.
Sautéed Sea Scallops Over Spaghetti Squash
2 1-pound spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking pan
4 leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
10 large sea scallops, muscles removed, sliced in half
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine or water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 bunch fresh chives (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the spaghetti squash, cut-sides down, on an oiled baking pan. Cook the squash until it is easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 45 minutes. Using a fork, separate the flesh into strands and transfer the squash to a bowl; cover the bowl and set it aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat. Cook the leeks and shallots, stirring, until they are crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the leeks and shallots to a plate and set it aside.
Place the flour in a small bowl and dredge the scallops in the flour. Return the saute pan to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook half of the scallops until they are golden, about 3 minutes per side. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and set them aside on a separate plate. Repeat the process and cook the remaining scallops.
Increase the heat to medium high and add the white wine or 3/4 cup of water. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Slowly whisk in the butter until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the squash and the leek mixture among your dinner plates; top the vegetables with the scallops. Drizzle the scallops and vegetables with the sauce, and garnish with the chives, if desired, before serving.
While the squash takes some time to cook to get it tender enough, that is really the only long part of the recipe. I liked the recipe because it was basic and healthy, giving you a nice, light meal that is great for any day of the week. If you didn’t want the spaghetti squash or can’t find one, I think rice or noodles would substitute well in the recipe, but the squash seems perfect for this dish. Be careful not to overcook the scallops so they don’t get rubbery on you. Just that little bit of flour is really all they need to get some nice color to them so you can enjoy the sweetness of them. I did cut the recipe in half since I was making this for just Sean and myself since Michelle is away on business so we had just the right amount of scallops and a little bit of squash leftover to use for another meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!