Posts tagged ‘seafood’

May 27, 2011

Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Puree


I am officially obsessed with scallops.

I do not know exactly when this obsession started, but I feel like I could cook them every single night and it is impossible to order anything else if I see scallops on a menu. Literally, impossible. Although I eat scallops year round, spring and summer heighten my obsession of this perfect, sweet and rich shellfish.

I spent much of the winter eating Trader Joe’s frozen scallops – a quick, inexpensive way to get my fix. Now that is warmer and seafood is constantly my mind, I have been splurging on only the best scallops. I am weary of Shaw’s and Stop and Shop when it comes to seafood – everything always looks so old and tired and off-color. Enter the newest aspect of my scallop obsession: Wulf’s Fish Market. This place is all about fresh and local seafood, and the scallops I have been getting there, although pricey, have been absolutely delicious and fresh, and well worth the extra cost.

Last week I wanted to keep the scallops simple and sweet. I recommend trying the recipe below with high-quality DRY scallops (as opposed to evil wet scallops treated with phosphates, which results in them absorbing more water – so you pay more per pound – which then evaporates during cooking leaving you with shrunken, dry and tasteless scallops – I could go on and on about this, but I’ll spare you).

The slightly spiced scallops pair extremely well with the butternut squash puree which is sweet and savory, and adds a little texture. Also served with grilled asparagus and sauteed spinach with fresh lemon juice. This meal was light and extremely delicious!

Pan Seared Scallops

  • around 1/3 to 1/2 pound of scallops for each person
  • chili powder
  • paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1) remove extra moisture from scallops by placing them between layers of paper towel on a level surface and put something on top to add a little pressure – I use a cutting board.
2) meanwhile, mix a little more than a teaspoon of each of the spices above together on a small plate
3) add butter to a large saute pan on medium-high heat.
4) after they chill in the paper towels for about 5 minutes,  put both sides of each scallop in the spice mixture and add to buttered pan and don’t move them around! It can be hard not to move them/check on them, but if you want the nice pan-seared crust you must leave them alone! Also, do not overcrowd the pan or you will steam, not sear the scallops.
5) cook for about three minutes, then flip to the other side (pans/stoves are different, so peek before flipping to make sure you have a brown/golden crust)
6) cook the other side 2-3 minutes depending on size. Don’t overcook your scallops – it is easy to do. When they are done they should be springy to the touch, and have a light translucent center.

Butternut Squash Puree:

  • 1 medium-large butternut squash
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp light cream
  • fresh chives
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1) pre-heat oven to 350
2) slice squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and flesh and place on a baking sheet, skin-side down
3) bake for about 35 – 45 minutes, or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork
4) scrape flesh out of squash and add to food processor and puree for a minute or two while adding ingredients above. You do not have to add all of the above ingredients, the puree will be sweet and smooth on its own, but I think the extra ingredients make it even more delicious. Especially the fresh chives, salt and pepper.

note: to make this an extra veggie filled dinner I grilled some asparagus, and sauteed some spinach in a bit of olive oil and then squeezed some fresh lemon juice on top. The lemon brought some needed acidity to the dish so I recommend it.

nutritionally speaking: 
excellent source of potassium, selenium,  protein, folate, omega-3,
vitamins A, B6, B12, C, E, K

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March 29, 2011

Panko crusted salmon with roasted potatoes and garlic kale

This dinner was AMAZING. It was one of those nights where you don’t plan to cook, but a little window of time opens up  and you get creative and fresh and delicious and are so glad you did!

There isn’t much too much follow for this one – its simple.

For the salmon:

I covered the flesh side of the salmon with a little spicy mustard and added panko bread crumbs – panko is a flakey light bread crumb often found in Japanese cooking, it tends to be more crunchy and crispier than regular bread crumbs because it is baked without crusts. Because its easy to find, I recommend McCormick Crusting Panko Blend, with garlic, lemon and rosemary – especially if its your first time cooking with panko, you can always explore after that. Keep in mind – it also goes very well as a crust on baked chicken.

Then I added the salmon filets, skin side down, in a saute pan that had about 1-2 tablespoons of hot olive oil in it. I let them cook about 4 minutes, then threw the entire pan in the oven at 375 for about 10 more minutes – your kitchen will begin to be filled with the wonderful aroma of rosemary and garlic.

In addition, I chopped red bliss potatoes, added parsley and garlic and olive oil, and baked them for about 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes were done.

And of course the garlic kale you’ve seen before. In case you missed it the first time, simply heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, add chopped garlic and shallots and the kale. Let it cook down for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how much you cook.

Simple, fun and healthy!

nutritionally speaking: excellent source of vitamins A*, C, B6, B12, Niacin
great source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate

*one serving of kale is 354% of your vitamin A!