Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scallop & Artichoke Provencal

This could possibly be the easiest and tastiest recipe I have ever made. The inspiration for this recipe came from Ina Garten's Scallops Provencal which is served with an herb basmati rice. I decided to spruce it up and add artichokes to it and serve it with just about the best kind of pasta in the world...Pappardelle. Pappardelle is a wide very large broad fettuccine. The name derives from the verb "parppare" which means "to gobble up". That is exactly what we did and there were no left overs to spare.
1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
all purpose flour, for dredging
1 stick of unsalted butter (divided up by tablespoon's)
1/2 cup diced shallots (2 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup shopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, cut in half
1 lb pappardelle pasta
1 cup marinated artichokes (rinsed and drained)
Sprinkle scallops with salt & pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
In a large pot boil pasta in salted water. (about 8 minutes)

In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and all the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. (3-4 minutes) Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasoning with the scallops. Add the artichokes & wine and cook until the sauce is thick. Add the pappardelle to the pan and coat the pasta with the sauce. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Best Thing About Spring

Spring is here and so are Zucchini Blossoms! Zucchini blossoms are the golden flowers on the end of baby zucchini (or the larger blossoms on the stalks from male pants) and they truly are one of the nicest things about spring. They are wonderful fried and delightful stuffed.
Next time you go your local farmers market I suggest you pick some up. That is if they have any left as people are known to get to the farmers market early specifically for zucchini blossoms. If you have seen them before but never knew what to do with them fear no more. They are a superb unexpected treasure and so easy to make.
This recipe Brown Rice Couscous, Goat Cheese & Shitake Zucchini Blossoms
came from Cannelle et VanilleHow healthy and amazing do they look?
12 zucchini blossoms
1 cup cooked brown rice couscous or quinoa
1/4 cup shiitakes, sauteed in olive oil
1 Tbs goat cheese, crumbled
1 Tbs parsley, chopped
1 Tbs basil, chopped

1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic

2 Tbs Olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tbs butter

Mix together the cooked couscous, cooked shiitakes, goat cheese, fresh herbs. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and taste it. Adjust seasoning.
Stuff the blossoms with about 1-2 tsp of the mixture and roll the tops to seal in the filling.
Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan. Cook the garlic clove slowly until it infuses the oil and then remove it. Brown the stuffed zucchini blossoms for about 1 minute on each side. Add the
lemon juice. Turn the heat off and add the butter. Swirl the pan to create a bit of a sauce. Serve immediately.

Left overs...How gorgeous is this goat cheese tart?
Stuff them with your favorite cheese & herbs, twist the ends, batter & deep fry them. They make the perfect appetizer!

The zucchini blossoms are fragile and are best cooked within two days from the time they are purchased or harvested. Look for fresh blossoms that are bright in color. They can be stored until the next day by placing them between sheets of damp paper towels and sealing them in a plastic bag. Store them in the vegetable drawer of your fridge.

The zucchini blossoms are prepared for cooking by rinsing the inside of the blossoms to remove any dirt or small insects. Pat dry with paper towels. Remove stamens. The stems can be left intact or removed.

Next time you are at the farmers market and see these bright orange flowers don't pass them up! I promise the sweet flavor of zucchini blossoms are a treat. Even a better reason to plant your own vegetable garden.