With every food blog, magazine, and TV show flooding you with holiday recipes, I've decided to take a break from the regularly scheduled programing of roasts, stuffings, cookies and pies to bring you some easy comfort foods that I enjoy eating between all the epic holiday meals.
This Curry Scallop Pasta is done in about the time it takes to boil the rotini, and for your modest effort, you'll be rewarded with a delightfully complex dish that adds a funky syncopation to the steady beat of the seasons greatest hits. Briny, piquant and redolent of curry, garlic and ginger, it takes your taste buds on a culinary trip to the other side of the world.
By searing the scallops with a bit of curry powder on the outside you get a marvelous caramelized crust on the surface of the scallops, and as the scallops sizzle away, they leave behind a footprint of caramelized flavor on the pan. After sauteeing some garlic and ginger in this scallop flavored oil, I hit the pan with coconut milk, which not only helps release some of the scallop flavor from the pan, it makes for a tantalizingly creamy curry sauce that gets drawn into the spirals of pasta like dust into a Dyson.
For the scallops, be sure to get "dry" scallops (not to be confused with "dried"). This just means that the scallops have not been treated with chemicals to make them retain water. If you can't find good scallops, this should also work with other seafood such as shrimp and if you want to make it vegan, use tofu.
- Boil the rotini in well salted water for 1 minute less than the package directions say.
- Mix the curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
- Dry the scallops well with paper towels and then dust both sides of the scallops with about half the curry mixture.
- When the pasta is 6 minutes away from being done, heat a frying pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan and then add the scallops. Let them fry undisturbed until they turn opaque about 1/3 of the way up the sides.
- Flip the scallops over and continue frying until they turn opaque 1/3 of the way up on this side, leaving the middle 1/3 translucent. Transfer the scallops to a plate and set aside.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and saute until they are just starting to brown.
- Add the the remaining curry powder and continue sauteing until the curry is very fragrant.
- Add the coconut milk and palm sugar and whisk to combine.
- When the pasta is done, drain it add it to the sauce along with the scallops, scallions and cilantro. Toss together to combine and serve immediately.