Seared Scallops and Herb Butter Sauce


These scallops (recipe here) were really easy and tasty. I don’t know why, though, the recipe says to use a separate saucepan to make the sauce. I would take advantage of all of the crusty caramelizing in the shallot pan and just make the sauce in there. I suppose since this sauce is kind of an ersatz beurre blanc, they were trying to keep it lightly-colored and delicate, but I would always fall on the side of incorporating more flavor (and washing less pots and pans!) The side dishes I made with this were easy (Farfalle with pesto and toasted pine nuts and sautéed zucchini), but they did make the plate look very white and green. I wish I had added some roasted red pepper strips or cherry tomato halves to the pasta or some yellow squash to the zucchini (or both) just for a little color variety.

Mustard-Roasted Fish, Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli, Dill Fingerling Potatoes


Recipes here.

I made all of the recipes out of this episode of Ina Garten’s show, except for the dessert, and they were all wonderful. I’ve always had good luck with her recipes and I really did have this on the table, start-to-finish, as Ina promised, in one hour.

Hoisin-Glazed Scallops with Sauteed Spinach and Peanut Butter Noodles

Peanut Butter Noodles recipe here.

The scallops recipe is from the subscription-only section of Fine Cooking’s website, but basically, you just cook the scallops in a VERY HOT lightly oiled pan (after sprinkling them with a tiny bit of cayenne and salt) until they’re browned on both sides and opaque throughout and then you lightly brush them with hoisin sauce.  Easy peasy.  The accompanying spinach recipe is slightly more difficult to sum, but I didn’t use it, anyway.  I just sauteed my spinach the same old way, with a little Baby Bam.

I’ve added the “vegetarian” tag to this post, because the peanut butter noodles would be (and were, for The Girl) an acceptable vegetarian entree, on their own.  They were delicious and were a huge hit with all four of us.  You could add any veggies that suit your taste (mushrooms, water chestnuts, baby corn, broccoli, etc.) and you could add a bit or sriracha to spice it up, if you like that sort of thing.  We added cucumber, grated carrot, red bell pepper, cilantro and finely chopped peanuts.

Soft-Shelled Crabs Meunière

Recipe here.  Please pardon the crummy cell-phone photo.

Making these recently at my best friend’s house in the mid-Atlantic region (during high soft-shelled season) is what gave me the courage to attempt the Sole Meunière.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.  Soft-shelled crabs are one of my all-time favorite foods.  Paramount is getting the freshest crabs available.  Unfortunately, this is not possible in Central Texas, but my best friend has THE MAGICAL PLACE at her disposal.  A magical place where the crabs are decapitated and de-lunged when you order them.  If you cook them as soon as you get home, they might still be twitching.  Mmmm…

I followed the original recipe pretty closely, but did substitute Wegmans pan searing flour (a GREAT product) for the regular flour in the recipe.  They were, consequently, pretty peppery, but pretty fabulous.

Classic Sole Meunière

Recipe here.

This is one of my favorite “fancy restaurant” meals, but I’ve never attempted it at home before.  I’m SO glad that I did, because it was super easy and VERY delicious.  I think that the recipe’s suggestion to buy a couple of extra fillets is a good one, because it does take a tiny bit of practice to get the knack for how long it takes to cook each fillet and for how to turn it.  The sole fillets are VERY fragile and have a tendency to fall apart when you flip them, but even if they do, they’re still delicious, and it shouldn’t take you more than two or three “practice fillets” before you’re flipping like a pro.  You definitely need to have the butter, lemon juice and parsley measured out and ready to go, because when you need each addition, you need it NOW and there’s no time to chop parsley or squeeze lemons.

We served this with some sauteed spinach and basmati rice.  We added a bit of sauteed shallot, chopped parsley and toasted, chopped pecans to the rice and finished it with a tiny bit of butter after it was cooked.