(served here with baby bok choy and rice pilaf)

While lazily perusing the Sunday farmers' market recently, I stumbled upon some fresh champagne grapes. Did I need to buy any champagne grapes? No. Did I end up buying some champagne grapes? Of course, they're adorable!

Champagne grapes (also called Black Corinth grapes) have nothing to do with making champagne whatsoever. They are, however, miniature (the size of salmon roe), juicy and intensely sweet. I've heard them described as Nature's Pop Rocks ( maybe that description is going a bit too far but you get the point---they're bursting with deliciousness!). Usually they're dried and made into currants or used for decorative purposes; but you can simply rinse and eat them as well. Anyhow, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with with my wee grapes but then I stumbled across a recipe that sounded like a must make--Bon Appétit's Pan Seared Scallops with Champagne Grapes and Toasted Almonds. So tonight for dinner, I tried it out. Not only was it a HUGE hit with Mr. S. but one of his kidlets bravely decided to try a small serving and declared it "REALLY good." Pretty high praise from an 11-year old! The dish comes across as very "gourmet'" when you serve it up, but in actuality it's quite easy to make. Give it a go!

Pan Seared Scallops with Champagne Grapes & Toasted Almonds (recipe from Bon Appétit)


• 16 large sea scallops

• 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

• 1.5 Tablespoons minced shallots

• 2/3 cup Champagne grapes (4 ounces) or black grapes, halved

• 1.5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted

• 1.5 Tablespoons chopped parsley

• Salt and pepper


• Melt 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the butter until it is browned, about 2 minutes.

• Salt and pepper scallops before adding them to the pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side and transfer to a dish, covering to keep warm.

• Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and grapes; sauce until the shallots are golden brown, about one minute.

• Stir in fresh lemon juice and any accumulated scallop juice from the plate of cooked scallops. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in almonds and parsley.

• Place scallops on individual plates and spoon the sauce over them. Serve immediately.
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