A quick summer meal in vibrant colors of green, white and yellow and red – Sautéed Scallops, Sautéed Asparagus and Corn on the Cob. What could be wrong with that combination? Absolutely nothing. It is delicious, nutritious, easy to prepare, cooks quickly and looks beautiful. That was dinner for two, one blisteringly hot and humid night last week. But with double the ingredients, it could easily become an elegant meal for guests, as long as they don’t have a shellfish allergy.
A visit that day to our local fishmonger revealed beautiful sea scallops, not the little bay scallops, which shouldn’t be sautéed because they don’t stand up very well to high heat. These scallops were fresh, sweet and had no off-putting odor. Sprinkled with paprika and quickly sautéed in butter and served with a light sauce of pan juices, deglazed with white wine, they were heavenly. The asparagus were first steamed, then quickly sautéed in garlic and oil. All while the corn cobs rested quietly in a pot of previously boiled and lightly salted water.
Dinner was ready in about 20 minutes.
For the scallops:
1 lb. sea scallops
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
2 Tbsps. Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine and 3 Tbsps. heavy cream
For the asparagus:
1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends trimmed
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 Tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the corn:
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 Tsp. Kosher salt
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it begins to boil, stir in the salt, add the corn, shut the heat and let the corn sit in the boiled water until ready to serve. This technique cooks the corn, but does not overcook it.
2. Dry the scallops with paper toweling and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the paprika.
3. Quickly steam the asparagus, when they turn bright green remove from the pot and set aside.
4. Heat a non-stick pan on high, gently add the olive oil, when shimmering add the garlic and stir. Add the asparagus and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes retaining their bright green color. Keep warm.
5. Heat a non-stick skillet large enough to hold the scallops without overcrowding. When hot, add the butter. Just before the butter begins to brown, add the scallops, paprika-coated side down and sprinkle the tops with the remaining paprika.
6. Sauté the scallops for about two minutes, until lightly browned, turn and repeat. When cooked to your liking, (I prefer them slightly undercooked) add the wine, bring to a boil and let scallops cook for 30 seconds more. Remove the scallops and set aside. Reduce the pan juices until by half, stir in the cream, let heat for 15 seconds.
7. Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve all immediately.