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Memories of Summertime: Sauteed Scallops with Angel Hair

November 10, 2010

I will always associate scallops with the easybreezybeautiful freedom of summertime, especially when accompanied by the seasonal delights of fresh, juicy tomatoes and aromaticparsley. Although summer has sadly passed us by, and Alicia and I enter our last winter in Maine, there is still time for a few fond reminisces to the carefree eternity of a youthful New England summer by the sea. While frequenters of Blue Mondays will note our fondness for scallops, this recipe in particular offers such an array of flavor, an undeniable witness to the mouthwatering appeal of culinary simplicity. There is something so perfect about the caramelized, creamy scallops, the white wine sauce, and tomatoes that makes me yearn for summer. Alicia loves twirling her angel hair, and we like the pasta too. We most enjoy this with some Sauvignon Blanc and, of course, some baguette.

This is a largely improvised recipe, but extremely straightforward. Start by seasoning the scallops with salt and pepper before putting them on the skillet with olive oil over high heat. The trick to cooking scallops is to flip them, and then remove them from the heat, at just the moment when the bottom side begins to caramelize. Scallops are best when the outsides are nicely caramelized and the insides are allowed to retain their smooth creaminess. Like most seafood, scallops should be treated with deft hands, allowing its natural flavors to really sing. You can see the texture in the photos; these scallops were cooked perfectly.

In this dish I created a white wine sauce to spoon over the pasta, adding extra flavors that complement the scallops well. The trick here is to reduce the wine sauce without scraping the pan of the caramelized remnants of the scallops, giving the sauce a nice flavor.

Another easy way to brighten up the dish, especially one as summery as this, is the simple addition of freshly chopped tomatoes and parsley. Everyone loves the combination of acidic tomatoes and aromatic parsley, and the addition adds a delicate touch of lightness to the meal. Unlike my Homecoming Scallops with Orzo and Tomatoes, both the tomatoes and the parsley are added fresh to the meal after plating. This allows each to retain all of its flavor and juices and distinguishes the dish quite nicely. Scallops are one of our favorite foods at Blue Mondays, and this classic and simple recipe does not disappoint. Even as we watch winter looming in on us, flip back the calendar with some summertime scallops!

Summertime Scallops with Angel Hair

serves 2

  • 4-5 ounces angel hair
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • a generous 1/2 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 lemon, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 pounds large sea scallops
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  1. In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the angel hair, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the scallops, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom. Turn over and cook for 1 minute longer before removing the scallops.
  3. Add the chopped shallots into the same skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, sautéing until translucent. Add the wine and reduce, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve the scallops over the pasta, pouring the white wine sauce over all. Add chopped tomatoes and parsley.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2010 1:46 pm

    I always forget about scallops when I’m doing my meal planning! Thanks for the reminder.

    • November 16, 2010 4:11 pm

      Hi Heather,
      Thanks for the comment. We also love mussels with pasta — they are delicious and generally much less expensive than scallops.

  2. November 18, 2010 3:35 pm

    This pasta and scallops sounds absolutely lovely!

  3. November 19, 2010 6:51 am

    I’ve never cooked scallops before, but this meal sounds delicious! I love angel hair pasta 🙂

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