Friday, November 27, 2009

Scallops a la Stuff

First, an apology: until I get my camera working again, no pictures.  All I need is to find the cord, but that's harder than it sounds.

So, my supermarket had a good sale on some fresh scallops (without shell and tongue, of course) and I decided to risk a seafood sale for once.  Normally I don't buy seafood on sale because it's old and fishy, but the scallops looked fairly fresh, and I wasn't disappointed.

I'll eschew an ingredient list on this one because I'm telling you how to make an entire dinner, and it would just get clumsy.  I will say you need Brussel sprouts, pasta, scallops, bacon, and a sweet potato.  Instead prepare for a wall of text!

The assembly of this dinner is as follows.

First, take a sweet potato and dampen the skin.  You can peel it if you'd like, but I love the flavor of the skin.  Mix equal parts sugar and fine salt in your palm and dust the outside of your potato, then wrap in foil and place in a 250 degree oven for about two hours.

So about half an hour before you take the sweet potato out, start yourself some pasta water.  Be sure to salt your pasta water.  It's important later (and not just for he flavor it adds to the pasta).  Also get some bacon out.  You can bacon wrap your scallops if you really want to, but I'm a fan of simple scallops.

You're going to need a large saute pan and a small saute pan.  In the small large saute pan render off the fat of three strips of bacon and remove them from the pan.  Once you have that done reduce it to low heat so the grease doesn't smoke.  Render the fat of one strip into the small pan.  Chopping the bacon makes the fat render faster.

At this point your pasta water is probably at a boil, so go ahead and add whatever pasta you want to use.  Crumble a two or three of the pieces of the pasta toincrease the starch content of the cooking water.

Take about twelve of your Brussel sprouts and slice them in half.  Place them face down in your small pan so they can toast in the bacon grease.  You'll want them in there for about ten minutes on medium low heat.

Add 3 tbsp of butter to the large pan and allow to melt.  You can add two cloves of slivered garlic and an eighth of an onion, also slivered, to the butter/bacon grease to add some flavor.  Sprinkle the scallops with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Crank your heat up to medium high and get your scallops in the pan.  Get them a little brown on each side then remove the scallops and get them into the oven to keep them warm and continue a bit of the cooking.

Ok, now throw some flour into the pan and stir it around.  Let it collect the fat and brown a little bit, then scoot it to the side of the pan and use about a cup of white wine to deglaze the pan.  Look at the container your scallops are in.  They should have released some juices.  Throw those tasty juices in the pan, then add a half cup of the pasta water. and stir everything together then allow to reduce until thickened.  Behold some tasty scallop gravy.  When making the gravy you can add some black pepper, but it will not need extra salt.

Now for that sweet potato.  Remove from the oven and unwrap.  carefully,m while it's still hot, cut into medallions (3 per person).  Keep them thin because it should still be half raw and fairly chewy.  lay your medallions flat on the plate and sprinkle liberally with brown sugar.  You can drizzle some molasses on there too, but the heat should soften the brown sugar and spread it around, which was more than enough for me.  If you don't like the tougher character of the sweet potato when purposefully undercooked, lay out your medallions on a sheet pan, sprinkle them with brown sugar, and chuck them in a 350 degree oven for fifteen minutes.  Throw a marshmallow on each of them even and let them stay in there while you eat.  Then you have desert for afterward.

Drain your pasta and toss with some olive oil, plate everything up and serve.  Gravy goes on the pasta and the scallops, Brussel sprouts take a stingy sprinkling of coarse salt, and the medallions, well i think I've covered them already.  Enjoy.

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