Scallops are like candy to me. If they weren’t so darn expensive, I’d probably eat them every other day. My favorite seafood by far. The key to cooking scallops is to not overcook them. When cooked properly, they are tender, moist, and succulent. Cook them too long and they turn chewy and rubbery. To get a nice brown sear on them, make sure the pan is hot and only touch them once to turn them over.
The sweet potato mixed in with the orzo really jazzes up the dish and the sweetness of the sweet potato plays well with the sweetness of the scallops. Serve with a glass of white wine and you have a very elegant meal.
Scallops with Sweet Potato Orzo
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces orzo
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound sea scallops, muscle removed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil and cook the orzo until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain.
- While orzo is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potato and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shallot and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shallot is golden brown. Add garlic and thyme and cook until sweet potato is completely tender, about 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir cooked orzo, parmesan cheese, and reserved water into skillet. Keep warm.
- Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook until browned on both sides and barely cooked through, approximately 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Stir shallot and garlic into the remaining liquid in the skillet and add wine. Bring to a boil and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
- To serve, portion the orzo on 4 plates and top with scallops and sauce. Sprinkle with pecans and parsley.
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe Source: adapted from Fine Cooking