Ally


I love scallops, in fact I often judge restaurants by their scallop dishes. If the chef can get that nice crunchy sear on the scallop, they're aces in my book. Scallops though are pretty expensive when you eat out and you usually only get three of them...four if you're lucky. So every once in awhile, I'll cook myself and Mr. S. a batch. I may have to start buying more scallops though because it seems Kidlet #1 has taken a shine to the meaty little mollusks. Now if you remember I've tried my hand at Pan-Seared Scallops with Champagne Grapes & Toasted Almonds and also Caramelized Scallops with a Balsalmic Reduction Sauce; both were delicious. Well, on Monday night I decided to give Scallops Piccata a whirl. I couldn't find a recipe that met my needs exactly, so I used one I found on Cooking in Alaska as a guideline and built on that. The end result was quite awesome.

By the way in case you need to brush up on your Jeopardy trivia, here's a couple of fun facts regarding scallops:

- Bay scallops have several pairs of eyes set in the mantle along the margin of the shell. The eyes can detect shadows and movement, which brings about an escape response. They will either take off or close their shell.

- Most scallops are free-living and are capable swimmers for short distances. They move by jetting water through their valves / opening and closing their shell.

Scallops Piccata

Ingredients

1 lb. scallops
(try and get "Day Boat", "Dry Pack" or "Diver" scallops if you can)

3 T capers (preferable preserved in salt)

4-5 T butter

1/3 c fresh lemon juice
(I also added in 1 quartered piece of preserved lemon rind from the batch I made at X-mas time. * Just remove the pulp and rinse the rind with water before using.)

1/2 c dry white wine
(I ended up adding a few extra splashes)

1-2 T olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 12 oz. bag frozen artichoke hearts
(Trader Joe's has them cheap)

1/4 c flour for dredging the scallops

Fresh ground pepper

Salt


Instructions

- Turn your oven to the warm setting and place an oven safe dish in there.

- If using salt-preserved capers, rinse off the salt and let them soak in cold water for 10 – 15 minutes, and rinse them again. If using brined capers, rinse off the brine. Dry the capers and roughly chop them if they are large. Set aside.

- Place a paper towel on a clean plate. Rinse your scallops and place them on the paper towel. Cover with another paper towel. Take a second plate and place it on top of the paper towel and press down, squeezing out any liquid in the scallops. Repeat if they still have a lot of liquid in them.

- Season both sides of the scallops with fresh ground pepper and salt. Then dredge them lightly through the flour.

- Place your skillet on your burner on high for a few minutes. Once it's super hot, add the olive oil. When the olive oil reaches a smoking point, using tongs place the scallops on the skillet one by one. Space them out so they aren't touching.

- Now here's the important part. Don't touch the scallops! To get that nice sear on them, you need to keep your tongs to yourself and not futz with them. Cook for about 2 minutes then flip each scallop over. Cook the other side for 2 minutes.

- Remove the scallops and place them on the oven safe dish and place them in the oven to stay warm.

- Add the lemon juice, garlic and white wine to the pan, scraping up any browned bits or caramelization on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid has reduced to 1/3 cup.

- Lower the heat to medium and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the capers. 

- Add artichokes (and throw in the slice of preserved lemon rind, if you have it). 

- Allow to simmer for a few minutes. Remove the preserved rind at this time.

- Plate your scallops and spoon the artichoke and sauce mixture on top. Pair with your favorite side (we went with jasmine rice that night).
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