Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Recipe for Sauteed Scallops with Garlic (Kalyn's Kitchen Cooks The Best Recipes in the World)

I'm still working my way through Mark Bittman's wonderful new cookbook, The Best Recipes in the World. In this book Bittman experiments with the best dishes from countries all around the world, and then presents them in a way that home cooks can duplicate. Bittman's famous "minimalist" cooking style, where he doesn't fuss, but does just enough fancy preparation to make the food memorable, really shines in a dish like this. Scallops can be a little tricky to cook at home, since they're so easily overcooked. Overcooking turns them rubbery and tasteless, so be careful. I live in Utah where it would be difficult or extremely expensive to get fresh scallops, but I used frozen scallops from Costco to make this (thawed in the refrigerator) and they were very good.

There are three kinds of scallops. The large ones like I used are sea scallops, always best cooked slightly underdone. Medium sized scallops are bay scallops, considered the most tasty, especially when they are caught wild. Calico scallops are the tiny ones you might see being breaded and deep fried in a fish and chips place; personally I don't think they have any flavor at all compared to the other two types.

I did dredge these in a tiny, tiny bit of white flour to get them nice and browned. Please do not call the South Beach Diet police. The total amount of flour in one serving would be well under a teaspoon of flour. If you're concerned about fat, most of the butter and olive oil is left in the pan.

Sauteed Scallops with Garlic
(Makes two servings, recipe from The Best Recipes in the World.)

8 large sea scallops or about 1 pound bay scallops
2 T flour for dredging (most will be left on the plate)
1 T good quality olive oil
1 T butter
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
parsley, for garnish
fresh lemon slices to squeeze over if desired
(I did eat it with the lemon, which was my only real change to the recipe)

Dry scallops gently with paper towel. Put oil in medium-sized frying pan and turn heat to medium. Add butter, and while butter melts, dredge each scallop in flour on both sides. When butter is starting to foam, add scallops to pan. Cook until scallops are barely browned on both sides and starting to feel firm, but not until they feel completely firm, about 2 minutes per side for the initial browning. (This will depend on the thickness of your scallops. Mine were quite thick.)

When both sides are browned slightly, add garlic, lower heat a little, season with salt and pepper as desired, and cook about 2 minutes more, either stirring or shaking the pan so the garlic is well distributed around all the scallops. Garnish with parsley and serve hot, with lemon slices if desired.

I was planning to make these for dinner for my friend Georgette, but when she arrived I found out she was allergic to scallops. I also have a couple of sisters who are allergic to shellfish. I feel sad for them, since thick scallops like this are one of my favorite foods, something I would be likely to order in a seafood restaurant. However, if you make the scallops you could still serve them with Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi in her honor. This yummy rice plus Mary's Perfect Salad would be a great dinner combination.

South Beach Suggestions:
If you used the flour like I did, this would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. You could use white whole wheat flour for the browning to make it more South Beach friendly, but quite honestly I wouldn't worry too much about this amount of flour. I'm guessing you could make this without flour if you wanted to eat it for phase one.
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  1. oooh!
    this looks yummy
    I will keep an eye out for you christmas message, exciting!

  2. Hi Kalyn, looks scrumptious! And thanks for your review of Bittman's book - I've been coveting it for a while!

  3. This looks really, really good! I just love Mark Bittman ... I think he's kinda sexy! Wish his PBS series was still on the air....

  4. Kalyn--I promise not to call the South Beach police! I promise.

    I am glad you have done well on the diet. Especially when you get to eat such tasty food as sauteed scallops with garlic!

  5. Those scallops look amazing, and you're making it really hard not to buy this cookbook!

  6. Hey Kalyn -- I agree with Sweetnicks, and I gave in. Based on your drool-inducing posts, I just picked up Bittman's book. Can't wait to delve in!

  7. I've made this twice and shared the recipe with friends. DELECIOUS! I'm making it again tonight.

  8. Anonymous, thanks so much for the feedback, and thanks to Mark Bittman for the recipes. I haven't had a bad recipe yet from this cookbook.

  9. Kalyn, I made this last night using Costco scallops. It was WONDERFUL!!! It is "fine dining" restaurant quality! Thank you for posting it!

  10. Richelle, thanks. That's two comments today on this recipe. I just love scallops!

  11. Hi Kalyn!
    I plan on making this tonight & just wanted to mention Guar gum to replace flour (or cornstartch) It is a really great thickener for low-carb diets & a little dab'll do ya! I'm sure it will work to get the browning "crust" that you pic appears to have~~thanks for the great recipe idea, I can't wait to try it!!

  12. Hi Angimage,
    I am familiar with Guar gum and have used it to thicken sauces with good results. I use flour here because it's such a small amount of flour, and most everyone has flour but may not have the guar gum. Also, South Beach isn't really a low carb diet, so you could use this small amount of flour for any phase except phase one because you're only eating maybe a tsp. of the flour. Thanks for the suggestion though, which some people might want to try.

  13. These look yummy Kalyn. Do you think you could substitute flaxseed meal for the flour to make them a little more phase 1 friendly?

  14. Anonymous, not sure how the flax seed meal would taste on this, but something like almond meal would be a good choice. You could easily cook them without the flour too.

  15. This recipe was excellent. Delicious. The timing information you provided was the key - to not overcook. As well, I was not concerned when my garlic became a bit brown and crunchy - your photograph showed that this is correct. The garlic did not overpower the scallops, and the scallops were not overdone. Took a total of 8-10 minutes to prepare and put on the table. Very subtle and delicate flavor. Thank you. Also ordered the cookbook you recommended from Amazon. I squeezed the juice of the fresh lemon in the pan during the last 5-8 seconds. I did not put lemon on the scallops after they came out of the pan. I might try lime next time - in the same manner - and compare.

  16. Martha, so glad you liked the recipe. I think you'll love this cookbook; it has so many good ideas.


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