When a handsome man shows up at your door looking all kinds of foxy in a 3 piece suit, it’s kind of a rule to cook him a fancy dinner. Normally I reserve the fancy dinners for Sunday. But if he shows up on Wednesday evening you saddle up, and make him a fancy dinner on Wednesday. End of story.
This particular dapper gentleman has really been treating me well these days and deserved a well thought out and perfectly executed meal. A meal that took some effort, some creativity and a little time. As a cook I communicate through my food and I wanted to say “Hey, you’re wonderful and awesome! I really, really like you. Eat this delicious food and never, ever, EVER leave me!” ….Err… or something like that… Scallops say that in a mildly sweet, less intense way.
I had about two hours between work and when my guest would arrive so I chose to get the orzo and pea purée ready a little early and reheat them. This ended up being a great game plan and allowed me to get gussied up and relax a little before I had to start the scallops.
I also added some baked and crumbled pancetta as a garnish. It went wonderfully with the pea purée!
1 cup uncooked Orzo
2 cups Chicken or Veggie Broth
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
5-6 sprigs Thyme
2 tbs unsalted Butter
2 tbs Thyme, minced
2 tbs Italian Parsley, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper
1. Prepare the Orzo as directed on package, substituting the broth for some of the water and adding the garlic and thyme sprigs. Drain orzo, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid and removing garlic cloves and Thyme stems.
2. Return orzo to pan, add the butter, minced herbs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to combine adding salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and reheat when ready to serve.
Green Pea Purée
1 small shallot, minced
1 package (2 cups) frozen Peas
1/2 cup Chicken or Veggie Broth
1 tsb Thyme, leaves removed from stems
1 tsb Italian Parsley, roughly torn
2 tbs Butter
3 tbs Parmesan, shredded
1. In a small sauce pan with a little olive oil, sauté shallots until translucent. Add peas and broth. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes until the peas are heated a bit.
2. Reserve 1/4 cup of peas, set aside. Pour remaining peas and broth into a blender, add Thyme, Parsley, butter and parmesan. Blend until smooth and combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Return purée to sauce pan, add and fold in reserved peas. Cover and set aside. Reheat when ready to serve.
1 lb (8-10) Dry Sea Scallops, muscle removed
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
salt and pepper
1. In a large non-stick skillet add the olive oil and butter. Melt butter slowly over medium heat. Meanwhile dry scallops thoroughly with a paper towel. Salt and pepper generously.
2. When the butter has released all its water it should stop foaming. When you see the first wisps of smoke it is time to add the scallops.
3. Add scallops, seasoned side down, to the skillet leaving about 3/4″ space between the scallops. Season other side with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat to sear for 2-3 minutes (depending how thick they are). Don’t touch them while they are searing and do not cover them.
4. Turn scallops and sear other side for 2-3 minutes. Scallops should be dark golden brown on both sides, but still tender in the middle. They should feel slightly firm with some give to the touch. Serve immediately.