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I'm happiest when the food I make becomes a backdrop to a lively conversation. When I'm not cooking, I'm traveling or dreaming about travel. Come sit with me, and enjoy! Read more here.

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« fig, arugula, and bacon salad: a high-five to fig season | Main | homage to alaska: trout with orange two ways »

jumbo scallops with red pepper puree: a delicious break from the norm

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.

Reader Comments (10)

Wow, he did a fabulous job Angela! The scallops look delicious.

Btw, I made your eggplant parmigiana, it was delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterelra

WOW! You are a lucky lady. If I were to say the same to my husband, we would either have takeout pizza or...takeout pizza.

July 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDana

Wow! That looks incredible. What a wonderful husband you have!
Beautiful pictures too.

August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Elra: Your eggplant parm looks amazing! Thanks again for the link to my site.

Dana: Takeout pizza sounds good to me!

Erica: I'm glad you like the pics! Thanks for visiting.

August 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterAngela

Totally inappropriate for me to say this, but I love your husband ;) What a man!

August 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

I love meals like that! It looks amazing.

August 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Those are some HUGE scallops! They look awesome! I love the color from the red bell peppers and polenta!

August 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCookie

Beautiful, scrumptious, delicious! Love the colorful dish!

August 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterelra

Hi Angela,
Glad to hear about you, when can we hire that chef to come to our house and cook something like this? It looks superb! I enjoyed your post about your trip with your dad and brother.

Hope to see more of your dishes soon.

August 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMely

O what beautiful dishes, what beautiful photography, thank you for keeping a fellow foodie inspired!

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeno

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