Friday, February 11, 2011

Scallops Provencal, a Perfect Dish for a Monday Night Valentine

I've been really busy lately.  I haven't had much time to devote to my blog and I'm a little surprised to say, that I've missed it.  It's not that I haven't been cooking, I have.  But cooking with the intent to blog and photograph, takes time and patience, neither of which I've had much of lately.  On my way home from work yesterday I realized I had not given dinner a thought, and decided to stop at Kings Market, where I had not been for quite some time.   Kings carries quality products.  You may pay a little more, but it is well worth it.  Their fish is always fresh, and they display where it caught or harvested.  I was excited to see that they had "dry" sea scallops yesterday, and they were on sale to boot!  I purchased 3/4 of a pound then headed over to the produce department.  As soon as I saw fresh baby spinach, I knew what I  was making.  I also knew that I would have to get this blog out in a hurry, because this is an impressive, quick, knock your socks off, delicious meal, perfect for a Monday night Valentine.

I can't stress enough, if you want to make this dish, you need to find "dry" scallops.  Scallops are either wet or dry.  Wet scallops are treated with phosphates.  They are soaked in water that is treated with phosphates.  The scallop absorbs the water, increasing their weight. When you purchase them wet, you get fewer scallops per pound than dry scallops.  Cooking the scallops causes the water to release, and the scallops are left dry and tasteless.  They will not brown.  Dry scallops are natural.  They do not release liquid when cooked and caramelize nicely.  They are sweet and have a superior flavor.  If your fish monger can't tell you if they scallops are wet or dry, go somewhere else to buy your fish!

I serve this dish on a bed of Organic Jasmati rice and spinach, lightly sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic.  Be sure to have a nicely chilled bottle of Chardonnay on deck as well.  This entire dinner can be made in the 20-25 minutes it takes to cook your rice.

Scallops Provencal 
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten  2004
Serves 2

  • 3/4 pound of dry sea scallops
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • sea or kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large chopped shallot
  • 1 crushed and minced clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 ounces dry white wine
  • 1/2 lemon cut into 3 wedges
Pat scallops dry with a paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Dust with flour, making sure to shake off excess.

Use a saute pan that is large enough to hold the scallops in a single layer.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat and add the scallops.  Turn the heat down to medium-high and allow the scallops to brown without moving them, about 2 minutes.  Flip the scallops over and continue to brown or caramelize for another 2 minutes.  Total cooking time will be about 4 minutes.
Be sure the pan and butter are hot when you add the scallops
Wet scallops won't caramelize like these beauties!
Add the last tablespoon of butter, shallots, garlic and parsley.  Gently toss scallops with the shallots, garlic and parsley and saute another 2 minutes.  Add the 3 ounces of wine, and cook one more minute.

Turn off heat, squeeze one wedge of the lemon over scallops.  Serve scallops on a bed of rice and spinach with a wedge of lemon on the side.  Spoon the sauce over the top of the dish.  Enjoy!


  1. Mmmmmmmmm!!!!! Looks delish!! DRV

  2. Oh Dorothy, they are! I'll make them for you sometime, OK?

  3. Looking forward to that! Thanks Dianne!