I confess I’m still exploring our new Whole Foods almost every day and I usually find a little something to take home. I’ve been explaking the concept of the store to strangers who are walking around drop-chinned and glassy-eyed at what is for many here a totally different food shopping experience. I need to find Manager Mark Heinz, formerly of El Paso’s Greenery, and ask for a job as a tour host.
Yesterday, I had a craving for scallops. I rarely cook them at home because, the ones we usually find here are limp and milky and not something I want to spend good money on.
When I looked at the scallops at Whole Foods, they were dry, firm and good-sized. I signed the papers for a second mortgage and invested in 10 lush scallops weighing in at just over a pound. The fishmonger told me their supplier ships them “dry-packed” instead of just in a box of ice. It makes a big difference!
I browned the scallops in butter and minced garlic in two batches and set them aside. I then added a generous splash of white wine and juice of half a lemon and let it reduce for several minutes. I tossed cooked and drained fettuccine into the pan sauce to warm the pasta, then stirred in about 3/4 cup green peas. A little salt and pepper balanced it out.
With the scallops, I served a romaine, baby spinach and small cucumber salad dressed with a wonderful creamy fennel dressing. The dressing had crushed fennel seed, sour cream, red wine vinegar and buttermilk. I would roll in the dressing if the bowl were big enough!
Dessert was a simple bit if Vitorin and a hot soak in the spa on a chilly fall evening.
CREAMY FENNEL SALAD DRESSING
This recipe makes about two cups. (About 12 servings) It can be halved easily.
1 Cup mayonnaise
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/2 Cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
4 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1-1/2 tsp fennel seed, chopped
salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, parsley, vinegar, garlic Italian seasoning and fennel seed; season with salt and pepper. Cover dressing and chill at least two hours before serving.
Toss greens, sliced snacking cumbers and croutons, drizzle with dressing. I used romaine and baby spinach greens.
No real recipe. Melt butter in a wide pan, stir in garlic. Pan sear the scallops in butter and minced garlic, turning once after about five minutes until both side are browned and scallops are opaque. Remove to a plate. Add a good cup of dry white wine and the juice of half a lemon to pan juices, stir loose any fond and reduce liquid to about half a cup. Stir in cooked fettuccine to warm. Add about a half a cup (or more to taste) green peas and warm. Plate fettuccine, top with scallops and drizzle with any liquid left in pan. I used five plump scallops per serving. I could have gotten away with three per serving with more pasta, but I was after scallops!