While I definitely enjoy cooking for others, it can be pretty liberating to cook just for me for a change. And tonight I took full advantage of it. C had a work dinner, so I decided to cook scallops. I heart scallops (and shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels… you get the idea), but C– not so much.
Besides wanting to use a seafood item that rarely makes it to our weekly menu, I wanted something summery and to use some fresh-picked zucchini and herbs from our garden. It also wouldn’t hurt if it would go with the bottle of white wine I had in the fridge.
I found a pint of sweet, perfectly ripe, tiny orange tomatoes at the grocery store, picked up some of my favorite brown rice penne and was off to the races.
I had originally intended to blister the tomatoes and brown the zucchini, but after I cooked the scallops in ghee, I couldn’t bear to toss out the sweet and briny liquid that was left in the pan. So instead, I added some white wine and let it reduce a bit before tossing in everything else. This resulted in the most flavorful sauce– tangy, ocean-y, and herbaceous, yet sweet.
This one was too good not to share. It’s the perfect complement to a sunny day.
1 box penne (I used Lundberg organic brown rice penne)
Hand full of coarse sea salt
Paleo options: Feel free to substitute kelp noodles or omit pasta altogether and serve over raw baby spinach.
3/4 lb. bay scallops
1 T. ghee (or butter)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (I used tiny orange ones)
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. white wine
crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon basil oil
1/3 cup olive oil (use the really good stuff here, I like California Olive Ranch)
1 small (or 1/2 large) garlic clove
Handful of basil leaves
A few chives (optional)
A few sprigs of parsley (optional)
3-4 anchovies in olive oil (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook scallops over medium heat in 1 T. melted ghee or butter in large sauté pan or medium dutch oven until cooked through, about three minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove scallops from pan, leave liquid.
Keep heat at medium. Add white wine, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tomatoes will pop open and sauce will thicken.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in heavily salted water according to instructions on box and make lemon basil oil. To make the oil, remove skin, pith and seeds from lemon. Do this by slicing off both ends of the lemon. Then stand it on one end and slice downward on all sides to remove skin and the white pith underneath. Then cut in half and remove seeds.
Add lemon and all other ingredients to a blender (I used a Vitamix) or a food processor and blend until smooth.
Top pasta with scallops and sauce and then drizzle with lemon basil oil. Garnish with chopped herbs, if desired.
Note: You absolutely do not need the lemon basil oil. It’s gilding the lily, I fully admit. But it’s super easy and delicious, and by adding in the whole lemon it gets really creamy and thick. Plus, you can use what’s left as a salad dressing. I had some the other night over tossed salad with sliced not-quite-hard-boiled eggs. Yum.