Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I grew up on the west coast of Florida. Seafood was all around me in the Gulf of Mexico. There were tons of seafood restaurants by the beach and inland where I lived. Stroll along Clearwater Beach and you can find a number of restaurants with outdoor bars serving up local fish.

And I ate chicken. Or red meat. But no fish. Neither my sister nor I could stand the smell, taste, or texture of anything from the sea. Until I moved to New England. Since I didn't cook seafood, when my husband and I would go out to dinner he would order seafood. He would ask me if I wanted to try it if he felt it wasn't 'too fishy' tasting. He knew my threshold. I think one of the major motivators was living up here our first year. We went to a couple of lobster fests in Boston and Mystic, CT. I still don't care for lobster.

Then came the scallops. While at Misquamicut in Rhode Island last summer, hubby and I went to a local restaurant that had the most amazing scallops. I practically ate all of them off my husband's plate. They were seared in butter with black truffle oil and had the most sweet and amazingly tender texture. I was in love! And on a quest to recreate them at home.

{Maria's Seaside Cafe in Misquamicut, Rhode Island}

At first I bought my sea scallops from Whole Foods. But they were expensive and weren't very big. I then sought out a local fish market, but I had to cook the scallops the day I got them, which means only on the weekends as the market was a 30 mile round-trip drive. However, when my stepfather came up to visit over Labor Day weekend he said they were the best scallops he's ever had.

I then decided to try the scallops at my local grocery store one night. To my surprise, not bad. Not bad at all. Then I moved on to frozen scallops with the same result as the fresh ones from the grocery store. These do in a pinch for a quick dinner on a cold, winter night. I simply defrost them the night before in the fridge, rinse, pat dry, season with a little salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side in hot butter. I throw in a clove of minced garlic and one chopped leek during the final two minutes of cooking and top with white truffle oil when done. Quick, easy, and delicious dinner.

Now that it's warming up, I'm going to venture out to other fish markets again as I would like to buy larger, diver scallops that are free of any chemical preservatives.

{I chop one leek (light green/white parts only), one garlic clove, and two TBSP butter. Make sure you get the scallops nice and dry or you will end up with liquid in the pan and they won't sear, but rather steam.}

{Heat your pan and butter until the butter sizzles and starts to turn brown.}

{See the searing? The butter is browning and the scallops are getting a nice crust. I didn't dry my scallops enough so they are giving off liquid in the pan. And I used 4 TBSP of butter instead of 2.}

{Seared for 2 minutes on each side.}

{Added garlic and leeks during the final 2 minutes of cooking, removed from pan, and drizzled white truffle oil on top.}

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  1. Oh that looks so good! I just had my salmon dinner and now I want some scallop!