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A first taste…


I’ve been cooking for many years, and have become comfortable in the kitchen creating recipes as a “kitchen sink” type cook (a little of this, a little of that), and have always received generous compliments.

I want to venture out a little bit though, break out of my comfort zone as it were, but still be sure to create fabulous meals.

Tonight I started with two simple dishes that I found in a Martha Stewart Real Simple magazine.  The results were surprisingly good!

The first was scallops with wilted spinach and arugula.  I’d never cooked scallops before, so I was a little nervous because I’d heard horror stories of people overcooking them in a few minutes.  I’d always done most of my cooking with chicken, which is a pretty forgiving meat.

The recipe called for large rinsed and dried scallops, about a pound and a quarter.  When I got to the grocery store that I knew would have them, they only had 3/4 lb. in stock.  Okay, I said, it’s only me eating them anyway, and the recipe stated that it was for four.

I sauteed the scallops in olive oil for almost 10 minutes.  The scallops I had got seemed much larger than the ones than I’d seen before, so I felt it prudent to continue cooking past the 7-minute mark recommended. Once cooked, the scallops were transferred to a small plate to drain.

My stove is electric, and is therefore not the most reliable nor accurate when it comes to cooking specific things for specific lengths of time.  Needless to say, the spinach was more cooked than wilted.

I had reduced the heat to medium and added one and a half tablespoons more olive oil.  I added two cloves minced garlic and about half a large bag of regular spinach leaves.  I did tear some of the larger ones before sauteing.

I served the scallop dish with fusilli pasta with spring herbs.  I bought 7 grain pasta by Ronzoni (it was very good!) and boiled it in water as directed on the package.

I drained it and mixed it with dill and parsley.  I then stirred in some grated Romano cheese (versus Parmesan), sea salt and ground black pepper.  The recipe also called for lemon juice but I felt the dill would give the dish enough tartness.  This particular pasta called for more olive oil than normal, but that’s okay; I like a lot of oil on my pasta to keep it from drying it out.

The pasta was good, but seemed out of place with the delicate flavors of the scallops and spinach.  It would have been better with another, more hardy-fleshed fish.

The scallops on spinach was wonderful, even if the spinach was a bit overdone.  The sweetness of the scallops with the tart flavor of the spinach, and the bite of the garlic and black pepper were a wonderful, delicious contrast. Next time I will opt for less garlic.

I served this meal with an Italian white wine, a Feudo Principi di Butera Insolia, which also seemed to heavy and strong for the fragile scallops.  I will try this again with a California Sauvignon Blanc.

About Helene Kremer

San Francisco East Bay

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