Start with 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of sea scallops. Clean the scallops by removing the small, tough muscle found on one side of each scallop (see picture below). If you don't peel off this piece from the scallop, then you'll have an extremely tough and chewy piece attached to your tender scallops after cooking.
Now, assemble the rest of the ingredients. Core three red bell peppers. Cut them in half and press down flat (with the skin facing up) onto a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Also, gather together 8 oz. sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, and a little bit of lemon zest. I also reserved a few sprigs of parsley for garnishing.
Start bringing four quarts or more of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, we'll roast the peppers.
In the past, we've roasted peppers on the grill, but, since it's winter, we'll roast them under the broiler in the oven. Place the sheet pan with the peppers on a rack in the highest position. If your rack doesn't reach high enough (the peppers should be within 2 inches of the broiler), invert another sheet pan and place that on the rack first to raise the level of the peppers. Broil until the surface of the peppers bubble and then turn black, about 15 minutes. Rotate the pan as necessary for even roasting.
After the peppers are done roasting, stack the peppers and fold the aluminum foil over to seal the peppers in and steam them. Steam the peppers for five to ten minutes before peeling the skins off.
In a large skillet, melt 4 Tbs. butter over low heat, then turn up the heat to medium until the foaming subsides.
Once the butter is brown and smells rich and nutty, place a single layer of scallops on the skillet and allow them to sear for about 2 minutes. If your scallops are truly fresh, then they should sear beautifully without releasing moisture faster than it can evaporate. Unfortunately, most scallops sold in the supermarkets are presoaked in water to give them a more uniform look at the store (and to increase the weight of each scallop for better profits). To big downside to the soaked scallops is that they don't cook well. The water tends to run out of the scallop and we end up either steaming or braising the scallops. If this is happening, remove the scallops from the pan after the first side is done cooking and allow much of the moisture to boil off before returning the scallops to the pan (with the raw side down). Sear the uncooked side of the scallops another 2 minutes. Our objective is to have the scallop turn opaque on the two flat sides, but leave a translucent center - medium rare. If we cooked them any longer, the scallops would turn stringy and lose a little bit of their natural flavors.
While you are pan searing the scallops, remove and discard the skin from the red peppers. Place the peppers into a bar blender and blend until they have been fully pureed. Now add the sour cream, salt, cayenne pepper, parsley, and lemon zest. You can also add a squirt of lemon juice to heighten the flavors. Blend until fully integrated and set aside.
As soon as the pasta is cooked to al dente, ladle out a 1/4 cup of the pasta water into a bowl or cup. Pour the rest of the pasta water (and the pasta) into a colander and return the pasta to the pot. Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta water to help prevent excessive clumping. Serve the pasta with scallops and sauce spooned on top. If desired, garnish with a sprig of parsley and a couple wedges of lemon.}?>
Pan Seared Scallops with Quick Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (serves four)
Pan Seared Scallops
|4 Tbs. (55 g) butter||melt||brown||sear 2 min.||flip, sear 2 min.|
|1-1/2 to 2 lb. (680 to 900 g) sea scallops|
Quick Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
|3 red bell peppers||roast||peel||puree||blend|
|8 oz. (230 g) sour cream|
|1/4 teaspoon (2 g) salt|
|1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) cayenne pepper|
|1 tablespoon (4 g) chopped parsley|
|pinch of lemon zest|