When Whole Foods Market asked me to participate in their Celebration of the Feast of Seven Fishes, I’ll admit I was intimidated. I have long been fascinated by the Italian tradition that involves multiple courses (at least seven, obviously) of seafood on Christmas Eve. I can’t imagine what I’d prepare if I had seven courses to fill.
Oh who am I kidding? Hand-rolled sushi, anchovy-olive canape, muscles in beer broth, lobster scampi, salad nicoise, traditional salmon filet with dill sauce, and some sort of scallop dish.
You see, scallops are my favorite seafood in all the land. I once ate sea scallops every single night for a week when we were in Cape May on a family vacation because they were fresh and local and soooooo good. WFM said to think creatively, so I have decided to dedicate this post to the lovely creature that is the sea scallop. In honor of the number seven, I present to you…
Top Seven Ways to Serve Sea Scallops
7. Ceviche. Whole, they are thick and meaty, but thinly sliced scallops can be very elegant and take to the citrus flavors of ceviche perfectly. The bonus is that dishes like this are incredibly easy to make but look super skillful. This ceviche recipe is going in my “make this soon” file.
6. Paella. Traditionally, this Spanish dish contains a variety of different kinds of seafood, but it can taste just as delicious if you pare down the list. I love the one-pot-ness of paella and the fact that the flavors get to mature as the dish simmers in a big pot for a good period of time. This paella specifically calls only for scallops, along with some andouille.
5. Bacon-wrapped. A classic. And so easy. Take a big ‘ol scallop, wrap a piece bacon around it, and cook.
4. Grilled with fruit. Big chunks of fruit like pineapple, mango, or peach can be put on skewers with whole scallops, brushed with oil, and lightly dusted with salt and pepper, before going on a medium heat grill for a few minutes. Try this grilled scallops recipe!
3. With meat. Scallops are meaty enough to stand alone, but their flavor is so mild that they can also be a great compliment to red meat dishes. I love this hearty recipe from Whole Foods that combines scallops with short ribs, cauliflower, and mushrooms.
2. Or without. I mean it when I say that the scallop can stand alone. One of the best ways to eat a fresh sea scallop is just easily seared in a pan, for a couple minutes on each side, with a bit of salt and pepper. The key is to not cook too long but still ensure they get cooked through. Just a couple minutes on each side will do it.
1. In this new recipe that I just created. The other night, I found myself with 1.5 lbs of big, beautiful sea scallops, courtesy of Whole Foods. I decided my challenge would be to >make an entree dish with the scallops and whatever else I had at home, which ended up being some leftover shallots and a mess of fresh spinach. The results were hearty and delicious.
Lemon Scallops with Spinach and Shallots Recipe
- 1.5 lbs large sea scallops, unfrozen and patted dry
- 6-7 shallots, peeled and separated into individual bulbs with larger pieces cut in half
- 6-7 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 1 spaghetti squash or 1 box conventional pasta
- 3 tbsps minced garlic
- 3 tbsps fresh chives, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup wine (optional – but substitute extra chicken broth if you don’t use wine)
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- Prep the spaghetti squash or pasta to your own preference
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add shallots, cooking until they are slightly soft and brown. Remove them to a reserve plate for later.
- Add the scallops to the pan and cook for 1 minute without meeting then turn them over, cooking for another minute or so, until they are just barely seared. Remove these to a reserve plate, too.
- Add the garlic to the pan and saute until light brown. Add the lemon juice, wine and/or chicken stock and de-glaze the pan. Season with salt and pepper, add the reserved onions and then throwin the spinach, sauteeing until the leaves are fully wilted and cooked.
- Put the butter into the spinach mixture and stir until it is melted. Return the scallops to the pan and warm through. Serve on top of the completed pasta or spaghetti squash, topping it with the lemon zest and minced chives.
Make Laura’s recipe or create one of your own with a $50 gift card giveaway from Whole Foods Market!