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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Visiting My Parents: Seared Scallops and Roasted Root Vegetables

Whenever I visit my parents, tasty things happen. I think this was the same day I made the amogghio/crostinis for The Husband to hang out with some guys and I decided I'd spent the rest of Saturday visiting with my parents. I always like to cook something special and in particular, when The Husband isn't around, I will pick something I don't usually eat because he doesn't like... like Indian food and such. Oh I still have to post some awesome Indian food recipes we made a while ago at my parents house, yum. Anyway, in this case, The Husband is allergic to mollusks.. or that's what we're assuming. He had a bad reaction years before we met to a seafood soup, and we'll just assume it is mollusks.. he can have crab and shrimp and fish of all types as far as we can tell, but maybe it's the clams, mussels, scallop type things that he needs to stray from... we don't feel like testing it.

I haven't had scallops in years .. never from a fancy restaurant and only small ones my mom has made in the past that always taste the same usually. I watch those Top Chef and Chopped and Hell's Kitchen and a lot of the food challenge shows and seared scallops are very common.. those big juicy scallops. The searing comes into play by cooking the scallops quickly over high heat so that they get a nice crispy crust but are just barely cooked through and juicy on the inside.

I looked up some recipes and they all seem to be the same. Put butter and oil in a pan, set over high heat (probably would be better in a stainless pan but my mom only had nonstick), right at about the point the fat is smoking -- sear dryed-off and salt and peppered scallops and sear for a few minutes, then flip and do the same on the other side. I had really large scallops and some of all sizes, no thanks to the Nino's butcher guy, so I had to cook mine longer. I had 16 scallops (some gigantic) so I used two pans to get it done all at once. After the scallops were seared, I added some leftover herbs I had - parsley, oregano, etc and a splash of cheap white rhine wine (what my mom has on hand) to the pan and made a little tasty sauce out of the yummy brown bits, butter and olive oil that was in the pan. This went on top of the scallops and they were quite delicious.

On the side we have some roasted root vegetables. I almost made these for Thanksgiving but thought it might be tricky roasting them plus the turkey and that I probably had enough already, so they got nixed. I decided to pick random root vegetables that I would normally never buy and also play a guessing game with my parents to see if they could guess which ones they were. We had fennel bulbs (a first), red and golden beets both (a first), celeriac/celery root (a first time buy for me too), rutabaga, butternut squash, garlic cloves, and turnips. I think that was it. We peeled and chopped everything and I put it on a big sheet pan and drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper and roasted them in the oven for a long while - probably 40-55 minutes at 400 degrees or so. It turned out delicious! Of everything, I think the rutabagas were my favorite.. probably most reminiscent of a potato and I am a potato lover... but the celeriac and fennel and everything else were also totally superb. It was fun to try all those different vegetables.

This was a really nice, relatively light and very filling winter meal. I am glad I got to try two things I had been meaning to try for quite a while now.. and they were tasty!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't tried most of those veggies either, it all looks great!