Monday, June 1, 2015

Easy and Elegant, Scallops and Thai pea puree

This dish is so quick and easy to throw together, you'll be amazed at how impressive it tastes.

Easy and Elegant, Scallops and Thai pea puree

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 Let’s face it, sometimes dinner comes down to what’s in the freezer. I knew I had a nice bag of Trader Joe’s scallops that soon would be overstaying its time in my freezer.
When I grabbed them to defrost, I spotted a bag of frozen peas and inspiration struck: Scallops with Thai pea puree, a Nigella Lawson recipe that could not be easier.
The truth is, I have yet to try a Nigella recipe that has not worked for me. Her flavor combinations are always inventive, but always spot on, and usually not ingredients I would have put together on my own.
In this case, the recipe calls for cooking a bag of frozen peas, and them throwing them in a blender with Thai green curry paste, and some sour cream. (I actually subbed Greek yogurt for the sour cream, which worked out just fine.)
Then the scallops are quickly seared for a couple of minutes on each side in a pan with butter and oil. The pan is deglazed with the juice of a lime, to create a sauce to be drizzled over the scallops. The pea puree is served alongside.
The green curry paste gave the peas just enough heat to make it interesting, while the lime butter sauce added a citrus zing that really elevated an ordinary scallop dish.
The whole thing comes together in about 20 minutes, start to finish, as quite a lovely weeknight meal. But don’t confine it to weeknights, wthis is nice enough to serve for guests.
Scallops with Thai-scented pea puree
Makes 2 servings
1 pound (3½ cups) frozen petits pois or peas
1 to 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
Salt
2 teaspoons peanut or other flavorless oil
2 teaspoons butter
6 big scallops (such as sold in shell by fishmongers) or 10 to 12 small bay scallops (such as sold in packages in the supermarket), preferably diver-caught (If frozen, thaw in refrigerator according to package instructions.)
Juice of a lime
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or Thai basil
1. Cook the peas in boiling, slightly salted water until tender, then drain and tip into a blender, adding 1 tablespoon curry paste and the sour cream or Greek yogurt. Season to taste with salt and perhaps add more curry paste, depending on how strong it is.
2. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan until foamy, and then fry the scallops for 2 minutes a side. If you are using big scallops it is sometimes easier to cut them in half across. When they are cooked, they will have just lost their raw look in the middle and be lusciously tender, while golden and almost caramelized on the outside.
3. Lift the scallops onto two warmed plates and then deglaze the hot pan by squeezing in the lime juice. Stir to mix well and pick up every scrap of flavor, and then pour over the scallops on each plate.
4. Dish up the pea puree alongside the scallops, and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or Thai basil. Serve with another wedge of lime if you feel like it.
_ From Nigella Kitchen: Recipes From the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson (Hyperion, 2010)
Notes: The pea puree can be made 2 to 3 hours ahead. Drain peas and immediately rinse with plenty of cold water. Puree when cold with 1 tablespoon of the curry paste and sour cream or Green yogurt. Put in a bowl, cover and leave in a cool place or refrigerator. Reheat gently in a saucepan, taste and adjust seasoning before serving. If using sour cream, make sure the puree doesn’t boil, otherwise it will turn grainy.
Per serving: 536 calories, 42 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram sugar, 23 grams fat, 83 milligrams cholesterol, 485 milligrams sodium, 13 grams dietary fiber.
 

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