Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pan Seared Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I got this recipe from They break recipes down into flow charts that help with timing the different components of a recipe. For example, it tells you to start boiling the water for the pasta then do another step that you'll complete right when it's time to throw the pasta in the water.

Enough of the tech talk... This dish is both hearty and light, strong and bold yet creamy and smooth. The meaty scallops are substantial and filling but won't weigh you down like a heavy steak. Their buttery flavor contrasts perfectly with the bite of the cayenne and lemon zest in the roasted red pepper sauce. Serve over linguine or fettuccine for a great Sunday dinner.

4 large sea scallops
2 Tbsp butter
1 large red bell pepper
4oz sour cream
pinch of salt
1/8tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
pinch of lemon zest

Cut the red pepper in quarters and place skin side up on a foil covered toaster-oven tray. Turn the toaster oven up as high as it goes and roast the peppers for about 15 minutes, or until the skin gets large black charred spots. Turn off the oven. Pile the peppers in the middle of the foil and wrap the foil into a pouch. Let the peppers steam in the pouch for 10 minutes. Peel and discard the charred skin from the peppers. Combine the peppers, sour cream, salt, cayenne, parsley and lemon zest in a blender, blend until smooth and set aside.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat until it stops foaming. When the butter starts to brown and release a nutty aroma, place the scallops in the pan on one of their flat sides. Sear on each side for about 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on them while searing. You want them to get some dark, crusty caramelization but don't want them to cook so long that they get tough.

Serve the scallops over pasta, spoon the red pepper sauce over top and garnish with some more chopped parsley.
Roasted Peppers

Seared Scallops

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tomato Soup

Tropical storm Hannah is rolling through, and even though it's still 80° out, a rainy day means two things: Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Somehow I managed to set off my fire alarm while making the soup, but that's neither here nor there.

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil shortly before serving.

I served the soup at this point. You could go a step further and blend the soup, but I liked it chunky. If I were a vegetarian I'd go as far as to call it meaty.

Roasted tomatoes

Cooking the celery, carrots, onions and garlic

fresh basil

Is it soup yet?

Ta da!

Update: It actually tastes even better when blended...