Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Farmers Market: Sautéed Scallops and Herbed Rice

Somerville, MA is a great city. I love living here, and this year's new Winter Farmer's Market just added to my joy. It runs between now and March, and it has been inspiring to see people trudging out in the cold, ice and snow, to the Armory (yes, the market is inside). This past Saturday, I stocked up on locally grown leeks and potatoes, grabbed some hot Italian sausage from Stillman's, and then ventured upstairs to buy some FRESH FISH from Jordan Brothers Seafood. Yes, that's right: haddock from Gloucester, and scallops from Maine. Not frozen--fresh. When she showed me the scallops I might have cried, just a little. Oh, and I picked up a baguette, brioche, and potato bread.

Scallops don't require a lot of fuss, but are easy to overcook. I pulled out my San Juan Classics Cookbook (San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, not Puerto Rico) and went straight to the shellfish section where I found a recipe for "Sautéed Prawns or Scallops" from Thibert's Crab Market on Fidalgo Island. Due to copyright, I won't reproduce the quantities, but here are the essential ingredients for

Sautéed Scallops
  • fresh scallops--medium to large, dry
  • butter
  • chopped garlic
  • chopped green onions
  • sliced mushrooms (I used babybella)
  • dried tarragon (I substituted fresh because I had it)
  • dry white wine
  • fresh lemon juice
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon wedges to serve
In a nutshell: melt butter, saute garlic, onion, mushrooms and tarragon until softened. Add scallops, sauté for five minutes. Add wine and lemon juice, stir in parsley, simmer to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste!

I served it with Herbed Rice which was loosely inspired by a Herbed Barley recipe that I made for Christmas, from The City Tavern Cookbook .

Herbed Rice
  • basmati rice (follow normal portioning)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • fresh herbs: I used parsley, tarragon, and thyme in a 3:2:1 ratio. It really is to your taste, but I do recommend being sensitive to what you are serving with the rice. The tarragon picked up the tarragon in the scallops, and I wanted just the faintest whisper of thyme, so that it would work with the rice, but not compete with the scallops.
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook the rice according to package directions, putting the 1 tsp of salt in the water. After it is done simmering and the liquid is mostly absorbed, add all the other ingredients and stir through.

Served with a simple green salad, and we had fresh brioche topped with raspberries and brandy for desert.