Early in our cruising, I learned that it is very easy to ruin scallops. After helping a fisherman who was out of gas, he gave us a dozen beautiful scallops that his son had just gathered as a thank-you gift. Although carefully following a recipe, I ended up with something that more resembled hockey pucks than a seafood delicacy.
Later on, our friends Robin and Martin invited us aboard their trawler, The Cat’s Meow, for dinner. Robin’s scallops—tossed with pasta—simply melted in my mouth. How did she do it?
Robin explained that you don’t want to “cook” scallops, as they get tough very easily. Instead, “You just want to introduce them to warmth,” she said.
Even better, Robin has a virtually foolproof technique for keeping them tender.
Cook the other ingredients in the dish, then turn the heat off and add the scallops to the pan. Toss everything together, then put the cover on for a few minutes until the scallops are just opaque. I couldn’t believe it was so simple and gives such great results!
1 linguine or other pasta
chicken bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon garlic paste or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups total of any or all of the following: diced onions or green onions; sliced mushrooms (fresh baby bella caps are a favorite); sweet peppers, any color, cut into thin strips; sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil; artichoke hearts (in brine or marinated); drained black olives (Kalamata are best)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 lb. scallops, rinsed and patted dry;
shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions, using the bouillon cube in place of salt.
At the same time, sauté the vegetables in the oil and garlic (if using olives, add them in the next step instead). When the onions, mushrooms and/or artichokes are just golden, add the olives and Italian seasoning, mix well and heat through.
Drain pasta and add to the skillet, tossing to mix. Turn off the stove and add the scallops to the pan, tossing to mix. Cover and let sit about 3 minutes for small scallops and 5 to 7 minutes for large ones, until the scallops are just opaque.
Serve immediately topped with a sprinkling of cheese.