Scallops in a snap: As easy to eat as they are to cook


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Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2012, 2:20 pm
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For a spur of the moment semi-fancy meal, you can't beat scallops.

Scallops are ideal to have tucked away in your freezer because they defrost and cook quickly. When planning a meal with scallops, figure two to three of the larger sea scallops (about 2 inches in diameter) per serving with a side dish.

Buy fresh, dry-packed sea scallops if you can; these are not treated or soaked in a solution. If they were not previously frozen, you can freeze them. When buying them from the fish counter, give them a sniff. Fresh scallops should smell sweet, not fishy.

Also, check the color. Scallops should be creamy light beige or off-white. If they're stark white, chances are they were treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, which is added to increase their weight and extend their shelf life. The preservative also makes them absorb moisture and, during cooking, that absorbed water releases and almost steams the scallops, preventing them from getting that really nice sear. If the scallops have been soaked, pat them dry with several paper towels.

If you buy frozen scallops, the label should indicate whether they've been treated. If they haven't, they should be labeled "dry."

Today's recipe pairs pan-seared scallops with a slightly tangy, ruby red grapefruit juice-based sauce. If the sauce is too tangy for your taste, balance it out with a small amount of brown sugar. Here are some other flavor suggestions for scallops.

Basic: Sear scallops in a mix of hot oil and butter. Depending on their size, figure 2-4 minutes on each side. Don't crowd them in the pan; sear in batches if needed. When you turn them over and cook on the second side, spoon the butter oil in the pan over the scallops. Cooked this way, scallops will be sweet and fork tender. But be careful not to overcook them, or they will be tough and chewy. Deglaze the pan with white wine and pour over the scallops.

Gremolata: Mix together 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, 1 clove garlic, finely minced, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sear scallops in butter oil and then remove from the skillet. Add the parsley mixture to the pan and sauté about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve scallops topped with gremolata.

Balsamic glazed: Sear scallops as above. Remove them from the skillet and add 1/2 cup white wine or fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar to pan. Cook over medium heat until just slightly thick, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Pour over the scallops.

Bacon-wrapped: Pre-cook bacon until almost done, but not crisp. Season scallops well on each side with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil. Wrap a half slice of bacon around each scallop and secure with a wooden pick. Add scallops to the skillet and cook 2-4 minutes on each side.

Seared Scallops with Shallots and Grapefruit Sauce
Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
You can substitute tangerine or clementine juice for the grapefruit juice.
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely diced shallots (2 to 3 large)
1/2 cup 100 percent ruby red grapefruit juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 pounds large sea scallops
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon, optional

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots; sauté, stirring constantly until the shallots are golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the grapefruit juice and vinegar. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning.
In a 12-inch heavy-duty nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the scallops (don't crowd them in the pan) and cover with a splatter screen if you have one, and cook until they are golden brown on both sides and almost firm to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
Add the shallot sauce to the scallops and cook until the sauce is just heated through.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with the chives and, if using, the tarragon.
Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, January 2008 issue. Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
343 calories (45 percent from fat), 17 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat), 11 grams carbohydrates, 34 grams protein, 364 mg sodium, 65 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber.

















 




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  Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.




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