Thursday, June 30, 2011

Buttery Sea Scallops (scallop squash piccata)

So I used to hate scallops.. My folks are great cooks but we never got scallops right. We'd get frozen ones, or sometimes fresh, then add them to dishes which had varieties of shellfish, and they were always the least tasty member of the frutta del mare party.  I have suffered through meal after meal, either at a restaurant or in my own kitchen adventures, where scallops are rubbery and tough with a metallic or sour flavor, once even i had it soaked in balsamic and wow that did not work. So why on earth would I be suggesting a scallop dish?? Cause ... pause for drumroll... I FINALLY managed to cook them right. And they were a completely different thing altogether. I feel like I really accomplished something. I made a dish of scallops that I'd actually want to eat :) In fact I'd want to eat it all the time!! Here's how it happened...

I did a little research and the word is that scallops are only good when they are fresh,  I know that you can say that of any edible thing, but with scallops its serious. Treat like sushi. If you cant get them super fresh, don't bother. So I went to a fish market in Cape May, where the boats are parked out back moored to the back door's dock.  Next the scallops don't like to be cooked so much. They can stand a sear, but leaving them to cook through is like serving filet mignon well done, there's nothing well about it done so well.  So with that as the rule I made some mashed potatoes (plain just some milk and butter inside) and steamed some broccoli for a side dish and both were nearly ready when heat hit my frying pan.

1 pound big fresh sea scallops
half a stick of butter
two tablespoons of olive oil
the juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons of capers (the balsamic kind)
1 cup of white wine
7 cloves of garlic chopped up
1 yellow squash

Take the squash, cut off the ends and then slice in about half inch thick slices so the circles are resembling the size and shape of the scallops.
Put in a frying pan the oil butter pepper and garlic, and get it nice and hot. dry the scallops with a paper towel and gently put them in the pot, work your way in a circle when you put them down, when you finish the circle go around flipping along the circle and when they've all been flipped 1 by 1 take them out into a bowl and put in the next circle of dudes etc. They shouldn't be in there for more than a minute on each side, like seriously you'd cook an egg longer. When they are all done and out toss in the squash pieces, the pan is still frying hot, lightly  brown both sides of the squashes, then add the capers, wine, lemon and parsley. The squashes are kinda thick so let them sizzle in there til they are of a good consistency, 5-10 minutes on medium. When they look about ready plate the mashed potatos and brocoli and toss the scallops back in the pan remove fro heat and stir around some, then in plating put the scallop squash piccata right on top of the mashed potatos so the juice  dribbles down.

I like how with this dish the squash is masquerading as the scallops. Also when serving scallops alone you can really pay attention to the not overcooking thing, It worked out really well, the scallops melted like butter in our mouths (feeds 2)


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