January 09, 2013

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Fast & Fabulous: Braised Escarole with Seared Bay Scallops & a Loire Valley White!

Looking for something deliciously quick to make for dinner tonight? Give this recipe for Braised Escarole with Seared Bay Scallops a try! I came across this gem in the Wall Street Journal in a feature on Chef Anita Lo of New York City's Annisa. Chef Lo is known for weaving multicultural flavors with classic French technique and draws inspiration from her extensive world travels. This recipe combines the delicious flavors of plump, sweet bay scallops with the slightly bitter flavor of escarole and lemon and a hint of red pepper flake. The result is a deliciously flavorful, yet healthy dish. Oh, and did I mention it takes under thirty minutes to make? Yay!I started by purchasing beautiful, fresh scallops from Captain Clay's Fish Market here in Delray Beach. When selecting scallops, be sure they are translucent and firm with no milky fluid surrounding them which can indicate they have been "soaked" and treated with chemicals. When preparing the dish, be sure to taste your escarole when it's done to adjust the seasoning and make sure the pan you're cooking the scallops in is very hot before adding them to give those beauties a nice, good sear. In the article, Chef Lo recommends shaving bottarga di muggine over the finished dish. Bottarga is the roe pouch of a tuna or grey mullet that's been dried and cured in sea salt for a few weeks resulting in a dry hard slab. The final product can then be thinly sliced or grated but let me assure you, this dish is perfectly delicious without it. Also, although the recipe claims it serves four, I'm afraid it's more like 2-3 for a main course - well for 2 very hungry people anyway!Pair this dish with a bright, citrusy wine like the Michel Redde Sancerre 'Les Tuilieres' 2009. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc from France's Loire Valley has flavors of lemon and green apple, a lovely minerality and zippy acidity that complemented the flavors of this dish beautifully. This wine is fermented entirely in stainless steel to preserve its crisp, fresh fruit flavors, making it a fabulous pairing for a variety of Spring and Summer fare. It's like adding a squeeze of lemon and is a natural match for seafood and shellfish.I hope you enjoy this "Fast & Fabulous" dish as much as we did and I'd love to hear what you think if you decide to make it.  Also, what source(s) do you find you go to most often for new everyday recipes (cookbook, magazines, website)? I'd love to know. Thanks for stopping by and have a delicious day!Cheers,  Braised Escarole with Seared Bay ScallopsServes 44 tablespoons olive oil1 pinch red pepper flakes2 large garlic cloves, sliced4 thin rounds of lemon, cut 1/8-inch thick, each slice cut into 6 triangles2½ tablespoons butter2 medium heads escarole (about 1 pound 6 ounces), washed and cut into 2-inch bands1 teaspoon sugarSalt and pepper1 pound Bay scallops, cleaned1. Set a large casserole over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in pepper flakes, garlic and lemon slices. Cook until lemons are limp and sizzling, about 2 minutes.2. Stir in escarole, butter, sugar and salt. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium. Stir occasionally and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes. Remove lid, turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook until the water evaporates, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. 3. While the escarole finishes cooking, prepare scallops. Set a large sauté pan over high heat and season scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.

4. Swirl 2 tablespoons olive oil into the pan. Once oil is almost smoking, add scallops. If need be, cook scallops in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.

5. Cook scallops on high until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn and finish cooking the other side, about 1 additional minute.

6. Divide escarole onto four plates. Arrange scallops on top and spritz with extra lemon juice, if desired.

Stephanie Miskew
Stephanie Miskew