This week we've learned that cooking for one has its fair share of benefits. There's a lot to be said for eating exactly what you want and not having to worry about pleasing an audience. Breakfast for dinner? Sure, why not.

Another benefit of cooking for one is that you can splurge on extravagant ingredients you might not usually buy. Not everyone can afford dry-aged grass-fed ribeyes for four on a weeknight but buying one isn't that big of a financial undertaking. Special occasions aside, some ingredients are just too pricey to serve to a larger group.

This recipe for Scallops with Slivered Asparagus and Lemony Wine Sauce from Deborah Madison's What We Eat When We Are Alone is the perfect chance to treat yourself. Many people love scallops but they're hardly ever cheap, and asparagus sits in the upper echelons of produce prices. Fortunately, this recipe calls for a mere six scallops and under a pound of asparagus. You can probably swing all of the ingredients for roughly $12, which is pretty impressive given the dish's elegance. Making a dinner this nice for yourself is a real treat and takes barely any time. And that bottle of white wine that you opened for the splash called for in the recipe—make sure to enjoy a glass or two with your scallops.

Win 'What We Eat When We Eat Alone'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of What We Eat When We Eat Alone to give away this week.

Cook the Book: Scallops with Slivered Asparagus and Lemony Wine Sauce

About This Recipe

Yield:1 or 2


  • 12 ounces asparagus
  • 6 large sea scallops
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, in all
  • 1 fat scallion, white part with a little green, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or chervil
  • Grater zest of 1 (Meyer) lemon, plus juice
  • Splash of white wine


  1. 1

  2. 2

  3. 3

    Simultaneously, melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet. When the foam subsides, add the scallops. Cook over medium-high heat until golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes, then turn and cook the second side. When done, divide the asparagus between 2 plates, then nestle the scallops on top.

  4. 4

    Add the remaining butter, scallion, herbs, and lemon zest to the pan, allow the butter to melt and foam, then add the splash of wine and squeeze for lemon and let it sputter and boil. After about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, add a little pepper, and spoon the sauce over the scallops and asparagus. Serve with crusty bread to capture the juices.


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