Hello at last!
First of all, I’m sorry about being absent for so long. This year’s vicious flu knocked me sideways for a while.
I want to share this simple recipe with you because it was an experiment and the results were yummy. Thanks, Beth for taking the beautiful pictures! The first time I made this, when Beth was home, it was without the herbs so you may wonder why you don’t see them in the photo. This dish was super good without them but it reached a whole other level of deliciousness with them.
In France, the fresh scallop season ends in early March. Sadness ensues. This year when their days were numbered, I wanted (needed) something that would taste like spring. And so I discarded my standby scallop recipes and got thinking; something light, lemony and luscious was required.
Here it is. You could make this with any fresh seafood to welcome spring if you can’t get scallops where you are.
Ingredients for four main course servings:
- 1 1/4 pound (approx. 750 grams or four large) zucchini (courgettes)
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 lemon
- 1 small clove of garlic
- ¼ cup or 1 handful each: fresh dill, parsley and chives
- Fresh scallops with or without coral as preferred: count three to five per person depending on their size and the state of your finances.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt/pepper/paprika to taste
There is a very handy gadget ‘a spiralizer’ that is perfect for this recipe. Start by ‘spiralling’ the zucchini (courgette). Do it on the larger holes. It will look just like spaghetti. If you don’t have the gadget, don’t worry, just make a julienne (cut thin slices lengthwise, then take few slices at a time, and cut the full length to make thin strips-it will take a bit longer but be just as good. If you are unsure how to do this, check YouTube video). Put your spaghetti in a colander and sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt. Mix with your hands. Leave it for half an hour. While it’s sitting there and all the bitter water is leaving your zucchini; zest and juice the lemon, mince the garlic and chop up your fresh herbs.
Prepare the scallops. Separate the coral from each scallop. With a small sharp knife remove the intestinal tract and the membrane attached to it. Rinse the scallops and dry them well. I roll them up in a clean linen tea towel. The scallops must be perfectly dry – this is very important.
Check your zucchini – it will be very wet. Squeeze it gently to get more water out. Dry as much as possible in clean tea towels – paper towel will dissolve and become part of your finished dish – gross! When it’s pretty dry (impossible to get it as dry as the scallops) heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and add the zucchini. Turn up the heat a bit and add half the lemon juice. Cook for about five minutes or until tender-crisp and the lemon juice has evaporated. Add the lemon zest and herbs. Season to taste, mix gently and remove from the heat.
Season the scallops with a sprinkling of salt, pepper and paprika. Take another frying pan and heat it over high heat. Add the rest of the olive oil and the butter. You should have a thin layer of fat in the pan. Adjust accordingly. Keep the pan very hot (don’t let the butter burn though) and add the scallops in a circle. The scallops should cook about a minute on the first side. Sometimes, by the time you have finished putting them all in the pan, the first one is ready to turn. You should have a nice light brown ‘crust’. When you do, start turning them over in the same order you put them in the pan and let cook for the same time again. Obviously small scallops take less time to cook – be careful not to overcook them.
Put the zucchini on a warmed serving dish. Top with the scallops. Deglaze the pan you cooked the scallops in with the rest of the lemon juice and pour over all. Garnish with dill sprigs if desired.