Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Five: 30 Minute Suppers

Recipe: Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash

Well I'm already diverting...30 Minute Suppers is not a "book" but a magazine from America's Test Kitchen. I've had this magazine sitting atop the table for some time now. My magazines usually get banished to the back room after awhile, but I have kept this one out, thinking I really should make these.

The cover shows these beautiful scallops nestled in a bed of pureed butternut squash. Andy absolutely loves scallops and I always shy away from ordering them, let alone making them. I was going to make them over the weekend, but laziness won out and we ordered pizza. I promised him I would make them on Monday.

The recipe calls for you to cube the butternut squash and microwave them for 12 minutes. I chose to roast the squash even though this takes much longer. However I thought the flavor that roasting brings out would be incomparable. Unfortunately I think that roasting took out too much moisture and once pureed in the food processor they were not as creamy looking as the photo in the magazine, and I thought a bit gummy. Though it did have good flavor.

Once again when it comes to any seafood, I seem to overcook it. I really need to trust my instincts and pull it off the heat source, but I always go just a "little" longer for fear of undercooking. It also doesn't help that the food sits and continues to cook while I am taking pictures. Andy said they were good and only a "tad" overcooked. He was once again happy with his meal. Bless his heart!

OK, back to the books! Hmmmm.... maybe something along the lines of sweets. Most of my books are on the baking end of the spectrum so I will need LOTS of "Consumption Specialists" for the baked goods!! Any takers? 

Success meter (1-3):  Andy: 2+     Me: 1

Seared scallops with butternut squash
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon half-and-half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    Salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ pounds sea scallops, tendons removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
8 whole sage leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.       Place squash in microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave until tender, 8 to 12 minutes, stirring squash halfway through. Drain, then transfer squash to food processor. Add half-and-half, 1 tablespoon butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and cayenne, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and cover to keep warm.
2.       Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of scallops and cook, without moving them, until well browned, 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Turn scallops and cook until sides are firm and centers opaque, 30-90 seconds. Transfer scallops to plate and tent loosely with foil. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and repeat with remaining oil and scallops. Transfer to plate with first batch.
3.       Heat remaining butter over medium heat, swirling skillet constantly, until butter has nutty aroma, about 1 minute. Add shallot, minced sage, and sage leaves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over scallops and serve with butternut squash.

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