It is officially summer and so officially, it’s my favorite time of year. During the summer, I’m most likely to be found in my chair in the back yard, book in hand, drink on the table next to me, soaking in the warm air. It’s quite the contrast to my cold-weather self where egregious amounts of TV is consumed and inactivity reigns.
I tend to crave lighter dishes in the summer, but there is still room for an occasional carb-loaded delicacy and these two dishes serve both purposes. I cooked scallops for the first time about 6 months ago. Nervous that I’d screw them up, (they can be delicate and are very easy to over and under-cook), I took in the appropriate amount of YouTube videos to feel confident enough that I’d get it right. The key is to make sure your pan is screaming hot. Hotter than you think it needs to be – they’ve got to sizzle the exact moment they hit the skillet. A quick test to see if your pan is hot enough is to splash some water in it. If it sizzles, you’re ready to add your scallops.
I think scallops are one of the easiest seafood dishes to prepare and offer the greatest reward in taste and beauty for the amount of effort needed. They’re also super versatile and I venture to guess they could be paired with just about any dish. All these guys need is a little salt and pepper and a couple minutes in the pan and you have a beautiful accompaniment to a salad, pasta, or soup.
The first dish, scallops with hazelnuts and sun gold tomatoes is super easy to compose. With just a few ingredients, you’ll have a great tasting lunch or dinner in about 20 minutes. The second dish, risotto with scallops in a champagne vanilla butter sauce requires a bit more multitasking, time and finesse. The champagne vanilla butter sauce is so perfect for the scallops, and it really doesn’t take much convincing for me to consume champagne in any way shape or form. Scallops also happen to pair well with champagne, so as a serving suggestion, save some bubbly for when you sit down to enjoy either of these dishes.
Recipes courtesy of Bon Appetit (Scallops with hazelnuts and sun gold tomatoes) and I Can Cook That. (Risotto with scallops in a champagne vanilla butter sauce.)