When it comes to cooking Asian noodles, I tend to obsess over each and every ingredient or make them needlessly fussy and complex. But I'm learning to lighten up and focus on simplicity. This week I decided what I could do with the trio of bay scallops, baby bok choy, and udon noodles.
'Scallops' on Serious Eats
This simple baked scallop and endive dinner takes four ingredients (plus salt, pepper, and a lemon to serve it with) with no extra dishes to clean.
Juicy, sweet sea scallops get quickly baked with little grape tomatoes and a herby breadcrumb topping packed with garlic, basil, and a little bit of butter.
Nutty and chewy, the Israeli couscous gets a little kick from the jalapeño. The whole dish is super simple to prepare and quite addictive. The key is to not overcook the scallops.
Sweet, tender bay scallops and baby Paris mushrooms get broiled under a simple, homey blanket of Gruyère-infused béchamel. Decadent!
Sweet scallops and burnished red smoky, meaty chorizo baked together without fuss in this perfect, stylish, easy dinner for two.
[Photograph: Blake Royer] Adapted from The Art of Simple Food....
Shellfish may not be the first thing to pop into most peoples minds' in the morning. But this simple ceviche has a little bit of spice and lots of bright flavors to shake off whatever you may have been doing the evening before.
Straightforward but with a bit of elegance—that's what Sunday suppers are all about. Lentils are easy to make, and are hearty enough to carry the meal. And sweet, simply seasoned and seared scallops add a touch of something special.
I was sold on this recipe from David Pasternack's The Young Man & the Sea (which, it should be noted, SE overlord Ed Levine co-wrote) from the moment I saw the combination of fresh asparagus and sugar snap peas. Could any recipe scream spring more? Both of them only need a few minutes in a hot pan, and they come out bright green and perfectly tender. Scallops, of course, are always a great addition, and their inherent sweetness really plays well with the vegetables.
No matter how many times I cook scallops, they still feel utterly fancy and special when I make them at home—it's more like I'm eating at a restaurant than my own kitchen. This recipe, from Diane Rossen Worthington's Seriously Simple, does nothing to spoil this fantasy. It features a complex twist on pesto using toasted almond and pungent mint leaves that pairs wonderfully with the sweet scallops and is pretty easy to prepare.
Simple, beautiful, and and astonishingly easy to prepare, these Scallops with Pea Purée and Ham are a plate that you'll want to make over and over again until the last of the spring peas are gone. It's got "dinner party" written all over it—the sort of dish that elicits all sorts of oohs and aahs but doesn't require any sort of cheffy skills or serious time commitment in the kitchen.
Shellfish and crustaceans have a natural affinity for anise-y, licorice-y flavored things. Bouillabaisse isn't really complete without a few slices of fennel and mussels steamed with Pernod. But I'd never thought to add tarragon to the seafood before coming across this Ragoût of Shellfish in At Elizabeth David's Table. The recipe begins with an incredibly flavorful roux of butter, onion, garlic, a bit of sugar, and white wine. In classic Elizabeth David fashion, the amount of tarragon added is entirely up to the chef.
These scallops are the perfect example of easy. Broil the scallops for 10 minutes and you have sweet, aromatic scallops in spicy butter with bright, citrusy, crispy breadcrumbs.
It's been said before that even in pea season, frozen peas are perfectly acceptable, and sometimes better than their fresh counterparts. Which means that this recipe is pretty much always in season. Like many of the dishes in Rozanne Gold's Radically Simple, this recipe packs a ton of flavor into a short ingredient list, and tastes like it was a lot more difficult to make than it actually was.
Adapted from Minimalist Cooks Dinner by Mark Bittman....
This is a true secret ingredient recipe: using something right out of the pantry and altering it to an important but unidentifiable state. The coffee in this recipe (instant espresso, in this case) provides sharp bitterness, contrasted by a luxurious creaminess in the sauce, and a caramel sweetness in the seared scallops. It's the perfect easy recipe that lends a wow factor to any dinner party.
Taking a cue from the piazza style of cooking (which produces similar results to the Spanish technique of cooking seafood a la plancha), this recipe calls for cooking the scallops on a blazing hot surface inside of a grill. From there, it's pretty familiar: grilled red onion, a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice, and fragrant basil over the whole mess. For me, it was all a lovely goodbye to summer.
With so many spring and summer vegetables available—fava beans, corn, shelling peas, zucchini—I wanted to try them all. That's when inspiration hit in the form of succotash. A perfect way for all the vegetables to play along, each combined in a skillet and simmered with a little milk until al dente and tossed with slivered basil.
For this ceviche, I start with mild, sweet sea scallops cut into a fine dice, and toss them with simple spikes of flavor from garlic, scallion, chili, and cilantro. The marinade gets its punch from freshly squeezed key lime juice, which mostly cooks the scallops and imparts a heady citrus scent, and pungent lime flavor. I serve it with freshly fried plantain chips. The perfect summer starter.