Lure 'em to the table with scallops

April 02, 2008|By Jill Wendholt Silva | Jill Wendholt Silva,McClatchy-Tribune

Usually reserved for restaurant dining, scallops are an elegant entree.

This recipe for Pan-Seared Scallops With Ginger Sauce is a dish fit for company, yet easy to prepare.

About the size of a marshmallow, the bivalve has a mildly sweet, slightly nutty flavor that even those who do not typically like fish usually enjoy. And like fish, scallops are good for your heart.

The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two fish meals per week.

Scallops are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but an even better source of vitamin B-12, which helps the body convert homocysteine, a chemical that attacks the blood vessel walls, into a benign substance. Four ounces of scallops equals 33 percent of the daily value of B-12, according to the World's Healthiest Foods, a nonprofit health organization at whfoods.org.

Scallops are also a good source of magnesium, which helps the blood vessels relax, and a good source of potassium, a nutrient that helps maintain normal blood pressure.

If you've only tasted scallops breaded and fried, you're in for a real treat. For a lovely mottled brown sear, the scallops must cook for several minutes per side. Resist the urge to flip too soon. Serve immediately; overcooking will turn this delicacy tough and fibrous.

Shopping tip: Scallops are extremely perishable, so they usually are frozen immediately after they are caught. For this dish, buy large sea scallops (about 10 to 20 a pound), not tiny 1/2 -inch bay scallops, which are better added to a dish. Sustainably harvested diver scallops are usually larger and more expensive.

Cooking tip: The sauce can be made in advance.

Pan-Seared Scallops With Ginger Sauce

Makes 4 servings

1 medium carrot, peeled and quartered

1 shallot, quartered

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, halved

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 pound sea scallops

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

snipped chives for garnish

Combine carrot, shallot, ginger, garlic, wine and broth in a medium saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 12 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Strain; discard vegetables and reserve liquid.

Pat scallops dry with paper towel. Heat oil in nonstick skillet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium-high heat. Place scallops in single layer in pan. Cook until golden brown on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn scallops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until second side is lightly golden. Reduce heat to low.

Pour reserved liquid over scallops. Simmer 1 minute, or until scallops are done, stirring up any browned particles into sauce and spooning sauce over scallops.

To serve, arrange scallops in deep platter and spoon sauce over them and sprinkle chives.

Per serving: 164 calories, 4 grams fat, trace saturated fat, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams carbohydrate, 22 grams protein, 286 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber

Recipe analysis provided by The Kansas City Star.

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