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Creamy Bay Scallop Spaghetti – An Almost Perfect Post-Holidays Pasta

After all those rich, complicated, and time-consuming holiday recipes, I’m always craving something light, fast, and easy; and this creamy bay scallop spaghetti is all that and more. Literally “more,” in that this is not light, but quite delicious, and in roughly the time it takes you to boil spaghetti, the sauce should be just about ready.


With some similar recipes to this, the chef will have you remove the scallops as soon as they’re seared, to be added back right at the end. Sounds smart since these little mollusks only take a few minutes to cook, but I think it’s a mistake. Yes, the scallops will be smaller and firmer using my method, but the trade-off is a much more flavorful sauce.

Sometimes cooks are so afraid to overcook and ruin something, they never extract as much flavor as possible. Sure, if you boiled these bay scallops another ten minutes or so, they’d get start getting dry and rubbery, but here they’re still plenty tender and moist enough, and I think you’ll agree the sherry sauce benefits significantly.


Regarding the sherry wine: If you can’t have or don’t want to use it, you’re on your own with replacements. While this would probably still work with none, or any number of sort-of-sweet, sort-of-acidic substations, I make mine with sherry, so I can’t tell you what will happen if you stray.

The meat’s another story. Feel free to switch out the scallops with any cubed protein, so really, if you think about it, I just shoed you like a dozen new recipes. You’re welcome! I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 appetizer-sized portions:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound bay scallops
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp lemon zest
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup sherry wine
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon or to taste
8 oz cooked thick spaghetti
2 tbsp Italian parsley, divided
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste

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Coquilles St-Jacques – Hey, Have You Tried That New Saint James Diet?

Coquilles St-Jacques is the kind of unapologetically
rich shellfish dish that we used to be able to enjoy, before the book-writing dieticians
and celebrity chefs ruined it for everybody. 

Fats of all sorts were demonized,
and young cooks far and wide were told to never, ever, under any circumstances,
cover-up the delicate flavors of seafood with heavy sauces, especially ones
containing cheese.


So, an amazing recipe like this went from classic French
treat to crime against nature, and it slowly but surely started disappearing from
menus. You can still find it in a few of the braver bistros, but to enjoy on
any kind of semi-regular basis, you’ll need to master it at home. The good news
is that’s very easy to do.

By the way, this is a great recipe for entertaining larger
groups during the holidays, since it can be prepped well ahead of time. For
this reason, Coquilles St-Jacques has always been a favorite of caterers and
banquet chefs, and below the ingredients list, I’ll give some instructions on
how they do it.

You can use sea scallops like I did, or the smaller, sweeter
bay scallops, which are really nice in this. Of course, if you use bay
scallops, you’ll only need a minute in the simmering wine, so be careful. No
matter what you use, be sure they haven’t been dipped in a preservative
solution. If you buy them frozen, which you should, the label should only say,
“Scallops.”


The shells can be easily found online, or at your local
restaurant supply store. Otherwise, simply use some small, shallow gratin
dishes, which will work exactly the same. Find something, and give this
“scallop recipe that time forgot” a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced shallots
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup white wine
1 pound sea scallops (about 3 scallops per person)
1/2 cup heavy cream
cayenne to taste
2 tsp minced tarragon
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Broil on high, about 8-10 inches under the flame, until the
scallops are hot, and the cheese is browned and bubbling. Because of the sugars
in the wine and cream, the edges will brûlée or burn, but this is not a
problem, and actually how it’s supposed to look.

NOTE: You can make these ahead, and
refrigerate until needed. Since they will be cold, you’ll need to bring back to
temperature before you broil them. Preheat oven to 350 F. and bake for about
12-15 minutes (will depend on how you constructed them), or until the centers
are just warm. Switch oven to broil, and broil on high as shown. 

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Angel Hair Pasta with Scallops and Tomatoes

Sauteed bay scallops with tomatoes and a touch of white wine and lemon juice served over angel hair pasta.

If you’re looking for a special dinner to make for your loved one this Valentine’s Day, this is a perfect dish. For starters, it takes less than 15 minutes to make, so you’ll have less time cooking, and more time together. Secondly, scallops date back to ancient Greece as an aphrodisiac. As legend has it, the goddess Aphrodite was carried to earth on the shell of a scallop.

Personally, I love scallops for their sweet, delicate flavor. Bay scallops are the smaller variety and are usually less expensive than sea scallops. They are wonderful tossed with pasta and take less than a minute to cook.

Because bay scallops retain so much water, it’s really important that you dry them well before cooking, and you really want to cook them in a hot pan so you get a quick sear. I cook them in 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of my pan. Don’t skip this step because you don’t want to overcrowd the pan, otherwise the scallops will become rubbery and won’t sear.

If you’re family doesn’t like whole wheat pasta, a great trick I like to do is use both whole wheat and semolina. You don’t really notice the taste of the whole wheat and your getting the added benefits of using a whole grain.

For all you spaghetti squash lovers out there, I’m sure this would be wonderful over roasted spaghetti squash as a gluten-free, lower-carb alternative.

Scallops and Tomatoes with Angel Hair Pasta
gordon-ramsay-recipe.com
Servings:• Size: about 1 1/4 cup • Old Pts: 7 pts • Weight Watchers Pts+: 9 pts
Calories: 345 • Fat: 5 g • Protein: 27 g • Carb: 43 g • Fiber: 6 g • Sugar: 2.5 g
Sodium: 318 mg (without salt)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bay scallops, dried well
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 14 oz can diced petite tomatoes, drained
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 7 oz angel hair pasta (I used half whole wheat)*

Directions:

Put a large pot of salted water to boil.

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet on high heat. When hot, add 1 tsp of oil and the butter over medium-high heat until mixture starts to brown.

MAKE SURE THE PAN AND OIL MIXTURE IS VERY HOT – Transfer HALF of the scallops to the skillet and cook WITHOUT MOVING until seared: ABOUT 30 SECONDS. Gently flip and sear on other side for another 20 – 30 SECONDS. Remove from skillet and set aside; cook remaining scallops and repeat as the first batch; set aside with first batch.

Add the angel hair to the boiling salted water, cook according to package instructions for al dente.

Reduce the skillet to medium-high heat; add remaining teaspoon of oil. When hot add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, salt and pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of parsley, remove from heat.

Drain any liquid that accumulates from the scallops, then add the scallops to the skillet and remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Top with the scallops and sauce, more fresh parsley and serve with grated parmigiano if desired.

Makes about 5 cups.

Without the pasta, each serving would be 5 points plus.
*Use brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta for gluten free. 

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