Pan Seared Scallops with Pasta

Mark and I try to be conscious of the environmental impact that we make with our daily lives. One of our big concerns is the fact that he works an hour away from our home. He’s been able to smush his work week into 3 days, and he stays over night once a week, but he’s still driving about 4 hours a week (roughly 70 miles each way). A couple weeks back, he heard a story on NPR (while driving up north) that eating beef is actually more environmentally damaging than driving a car. I don’t want to spend a ton of time hashing out the specifics, but basically the methane toots from cows, coupled with the transportation of beef and the fact that grain-fed cows pass more gas more often, results in a very large carbon cow pie  footprint.

As we talked, we flirted with the idea of going vegetarian to reduce our footprint. However, we both enjoy eating meat. We’ve been consuming a lot more of it since my pregnancy. I was really gung-ho about giving up meat initially, and then as I sat on the idea a little longer I was less excited. I talked with some friends and a couple pointed out that eating local, humanely raised beef was the best of all worlds– we’d reduce our carbon footprint and we’d support our local agricultural economy. Great idea! Mkay, I happen to have mad love for seafood, and all this examining of our beef-eating practices had me thinking about the kind of fish and seafood we eat. Are we eating wild caught? No with any intention, and probably not much at all. I figure if we are holding our beef to one standard, we should also hold our fish to the same. Thankfully, my grocery store has a nice selection of wild caught fish and seafood….which leads to tonight’s dinner.

SEA SCALLOPS!

I love scallops. It was the meal I had the first time I went to a nice restaurant. I feel like I am eating the ocean when I bite into a sea scallop (in a good way). When I was shopping yesterday, the seafood counter had beautiful sea scallops, so I bought some for dinner tonight. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the scallops, beyond wanting to pan sear them. I bought a ton of organic produce, focusing on the sale (i.e. seasonal) items. Dino kale was one of the things (hurray for spring and the harvesting of delicious greens!) I picked up. I knew I wanted to incorporate the dino kale. As my idea evolved into a meal, it became a pasta dish with red pepper, onions, and mushrooms (in addition to the scallops and the kale). Halfway through cooking the pasta portion of the meal, I began to doubt how well the pasta and scallops paired together.

Ingredients:

1 lb of scallops

1/2 package of linguine, prepared

1/2 large red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 red pepper, chopped

8oz mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch of dino kale

1 lime

butter

olive oil

Preparation:

1. Prepare pasta as directed. I used linguine, because it was either that or angel hair in the pantry, and I wanted a thicker noodle.

2. In a large frying pan, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, cooking until soft. Add the mushrooms, red pepper, and kale. Cook over medium-high heat until the kale wilts. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the veggies.

3. Mix the pasta and the veggies together.

4. Rinse the scallops with cold water, pat dry, and then sprinkle with kosher salt.

5. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat over high heat until the combination is smoking.

6. Add the scallops carefully, and cook for 2 minutes. DO NOT MESS WITH THEM. Flip the scallops and cook for an additional minute.

Overall, I am thrilled with this meal. It was the first time I had pan seared scallops, and I am pretty happy with the results. I could have let the scallops cook on the first side for a little longer, but I’ll know that for next time. I was worried that the scallops and the pasta dish would not go well together, however it was not a worry. The lime juice does a good job of taking away some of the bitter of the kale, making it pair nicely with the scallops. Be sure not to overcook the scallops, as well as the veggies. Rubbery scallops and mushy red pepper makes for a yucky meal.

P.S. What do you think of instagram photos?

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