I'm back from Oregon! During my short trip to attend my step-fathers graduation, I picked up 6 bottles of Willamette Valley wine (mostly Pinot Noirs) and a sunburn (I didn't get the memo about the 4 hour ceremony being outdoors).
I actually got back on Monday, but the past 2 nights have been occupied working out the details of the Tastespotting replacement project I've started with a friend. It's not quite done yet, but if you want to check it out, leave a comment and I'll invite you as we need beta testers.
I honestly haven't been in the mood to cook but this is a simple classic no-brainer for bay scallops. The tartness of the wine and lemon offset the cream and the caramelized onions and scallops add an enormous amount of umami it's by no means a light dish, but it's also not too heavy or cloying.
For those of you that know me, you know I'll eat almost anything, but licorice flavored things are a rare exception. That said, I enjoy challenging myself to take food I don't like and turn it into something I like so I've found uses for anise flavored things. Pernod in particular goes pretty well with seafood and I've even found myself craving the combo sometimes. I still won't touch those black tar sticks though.
The basil in this dish goes well with Pernod and if you have a fennel bulb sitting around, add it in with the spring onions. Tarragon would work too. If you want to do something different, try replacing the basil and Pernod with saffron and ginger.
- The trick with this recipe is to make the sauce ahead, then time the pasta and scallops so they are done at the same time. Depending on the type of pasta you're using it will take different amounts of time, so I'll leave it to your discretion as to when to start the pasta.
- For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan. Saute the onions until soft and starting to caramelize. Add the wine and lemon juice and reduce until thick and gluggy. Add the cream and Pernod and turn down the heat to keep it warm.
- Clean and dry the scallops. Heat a non-teflon pan over high heat until hot. Lightly salt and pepper the scallops. Add the butter to the pan and swirl to melt. When the bubbling subsides add the scallops in a single layer without overcrowding the pan. Sear undisturbed until brown then flip with tongs. Cook until the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the scallop is opaque and the middle 1/3 is still translucent.
- Transfer the scallops to a plate then add the cream sauce to the pan that the scallops came out of and deglaze. All that brown fond on the pan adds umami to the sauce. Add the basil to the sauce then put the drained pasta in the sauce and stir to coat.
- Plate the pasta then top with the scallops and drizzle any remaining sauce on top.