Saturday, June 11, 2005

Hermaphroditic Dinner

Socked in for a long weekend thanks to Tropical Storm, pseudo-hurricane Arlene. No big winds here in north central Florida, just rain and more rain. Poor Pensacola. They got the last hurricane in 2004 and now they will get the first one of 2005.

I still have classic cars on the brain. Perhaps, I'll pick up where I left off next week. For today, I thought you would be much more interested in the hermaphroditic dinner we had last night.

Did you know that scallops have both male and female sex organs? Apparently they are having quite a party inside those pretty, fan-shaped shells. Scallops can swim (Clams got legs!) by snapping their shells and the muscles that they use, the adductor muscles, are the part of the scallop we eat. Picture those scallops clapping their shells together, swooshing and scooting along the floor of the sea, having a party inside with their self contained male and female sex organs. Scallops make me smile and they are delicious, too.

So I had a pound plus of shucked bay scallops in the freezer and didn't have the right ingredients for anything special. There was plenty of summer squash, 3/4 of a green bell pepper, half a Vidalia onion, fresh lemon and lime in the fridge. I would have to come up with something.

First, I trimmed down the squash to just the outer flesh and skin since it was such a pretty color and the squash was so large and seedy that I didn't want the center part anyway. I cut it into triangles. Seeded and trimmed up the pepper and did the same. Finely chopped the Vidalia onion. Found a few cherry tomatoes in the back of the fridge. Slipped out in the rain pinched off some fresh basil from my plants. Slivered six large leaves with scissors and saved some more for garnish. Is there anything that smells better than fresh basil?

I found some linguini in the pantry and plopped a hank (about a half pound) into some boiling, salted water.

Then, I melted a big pat of butter and some olive oil and sautéed all the veggies with some garlic, just for a little while, a couple of minutes max. Added the little cherry tomatoes whole. At the last minute, I tossed in half of the basil whispies. Deglazed the pan with lemon juice and hot sauce, tossed it all and then removed it to a warm bowl.

Added some more butter and olive oil, waited until the foam subsided and placed half of the washed and patted dry scallops, a little more garlic in there for about 2 minutes, tossing and shaking. Be careful not to overcook scallops. They only take a minute or two and if you don't place too many in the pan at once, you can better control the degree of doneness. I removed those scallops and added some more butter oil, very hot pan, added the rest of the scallops and more garlic. This time, after about a minute and a half, I deglazed the pan again with lots of lemon juice and many sprinkles of hot sauce. I prefer Tabasco but any kind will do. We like hot but if you don't, just use a little bit.

By this time, about 6 minutes had passed so I tested the pasta which needed another minute, then I drained the linguini and plated it, tossed the scallops and my cooked veggie mix that looked like confetti, and added it atop the pasta, making sure to get all the juices onto the pasta as well. Then, I sprinkled the plates with the rest of the fresh slivered basil leaves and garnished. Very tasty! Sometimes the best meals come from the depths of the fridge when you have no idea what to cook. It sure is fun trying to come up with some creative way to use what you have on hand.

Scallop Confetti
Originally uploaded by flaurella.


foofoolamarr said...

>Is there anything that smells >better than fresh basil?

The answer is a categoric "NO"! There is nothing that smells better than fresh basil. My personal fave is "balsamic basil" (curly-edged leaves and grows more as a bush than the common basil). I've had common basils almost five feet tall.

I'd also like to try out a purple basil. Maybe next year....

Anyway, I envy you your frozen scallops, but fresh is always better. This means on July 1, take your boat out to where the Suwannee runs into the Gulf, go offshore about thirty feet, and snatch those suckers off the bottom. Be cautious; they can pinch yer fingers if they see ya coming. PITA to clean, but still worth it.

Advice: For ease of cleaning, use a grapefruit spoon.

Sanne said...

I also love basil. By now I have three pots in my kitchen window, it is still too cold to plant them outside - can you imagine!? :) In Denmark the basil gets about one foot tall ... and that's BIG!
Have a great day over there - I envy your lovely food.

Bennett said...

Pretty worthwhile data, lots of thanks for your post.
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