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Sauteed Sea Scallops with Squid Ink Pasta

Sea scallops are the big ones–the bigger, the better. See if you can locate “diver” or “day boat” scallops, which have not been processed for shelf life. The squid ink pasta sounds exotic, but shouldn’t be too hard to track down in specialty stores and gourmet markets.

You can swap out the major ingredients in this dish and still get great results. Normal, unflavored pasta in big pieces (penne, bowties, or corkscrews), cooked al dente would be fine. For that matter, there’s no law that says you have to use scallops; this would work well with shrimp, crawfish, lump crabmeat, or even big flakes of white fish.

Squid-ink pasta with scallops, fish, or other shellfish.

  • 2 lbs. large sea scallops
  • 1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. chopped French shallots
  • 1/4 cup chopped leek–inner white portion only, well washed
  • 2 Tbs. chopped celery
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, strained
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (wild mushrooms preferred)
  • 1 medium tomato, with skin, seeds, and pulp removed, chopped
  • 1 lb. squid-ink pasta, cooked al dente, with some of the boiling water reserved
  • 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel

1. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat. Dust the scallops with the Creole seasoning and salt, dip them into the melted butter, and sear them on each side for about a minute. Remove the scallops from the pan and reduce heat to medium-low.

2. Add the remaining butter, olive oil, shallots, leeks, celery and crushed red pepper to the pan. Cook until tender.

3. Add wine, lemon juice, mushrooms, tomato, and 1/4 cup of water from the pasta boiling pot. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by half, and return the scallops to the pan.

4. Add pasta to pan and toss to combine with other ingredients. Serve sprinkled with a little of the lemon peel and parsley, mixed together.

Serves four entrees or eight appetizers.

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