I recently took on a month-long writing assignment that required me to understand intellectual property law. I’m not a lawyer. I’m a generalist. So I turned to the Internet, downloading dozens of reports about royalty distribution and collection, copyright, and patents.
By the end of four weeks of cramming and then writing, I understood the basic concepts of intellectual property law but I felt like my brain had been pushed through a potato ricer.
I stopped exercising and started stress-eating. I polished off a carton of pistachio gelato without a thought.
The bag of tortilla chips in the pantry? Gone.
That block of Parrano cheese? Check.
I also stopped cooking. For dinners, I asked Paul to wear the apron.
This was not hard. Paul is a good cook and, given the chance, he can be more creative than me, brainstorming flavors and textures and then inventing techniques. How-to books bore him. He’s a jazz musician and like jazz musicians, he likes to run with an idea.
So, on his first night cooking, he was already experimenting. I peered over my computer screen to see him chopping zucchini, pureeing roasted red peppers, and grilling jumbo scallops.
Within the hour, he served a colorful and delicious dish of jumbo scallops on slices of grilled polenta smothered in a red pepper puree topped with shallot-balsamic sauce.
After that night I had a new favorite dish and decided that, while I wouldn't be writing about intellectual property any time soon, I would be asking my musician-husband to cook more often.
Jumbo Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Puree on Polenta
4 jumbo scallops
1 zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick and grilled 3 - 4 minutes per side (reserve 3 slices)
1 package plain polenta
1 large shallot or two small, diced
1 - 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoon olive oil
For the red pepper puree
2 large red pepper, roasted and peeled
Reserved 3 slices grilled zucchini
2 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pepper puree. Combine the red pepper, zucchini, garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and blend. Set aside. This can be made a day in advance.
For the shallot topping. Heat oil in a pan and add the diced shallots. Simmer until translucent. Add the thyme. Simmer for one minute. Add a the balsamic and simmer for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Slice off four 1/2-inch thick rounds of polenta and set aside. Grill the polenta slices 4 minutes on one side. Pan-sear the scallops about 2-3 minutes per side.
Layer the polenta, red pepper puree, and scallops. Dress with the shallot-balsamic sauce.
Plate with the grilled zucchini and serve with a Chardonnay-Viognier blend.