Alex took us on a small excursion to Queens for some classic Italian. Though I had to order the veal as it called to me, the seared scallops looked amazing. So when I saw that scallops where on sale at Whole Foods, I knew exactly how to cook them. This is a great light meal for a warm summer night.
Italian Pan-Seared Scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic
1 lb fresh, large scallops
few pinches of salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cups baby spinach leaves
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan on medium high. Coarsely chop the garlic. Sprinkle the scallops with the salt. Add the garlic to the pan and before it gets brown, place the scallops in the pan, flat side down. Don’t over crowd the pan or the scallops won’t sear properly. Sprinkle the scallops with the parsley and chili flakes. Once the first side is brown, flip the scallops over and sear the other side. Toss the spinach lightly with the balsamic vinaigrette and divide it between two plates. Once the scallops are fully cooked, divide them between the two plates and place on top of the spinach. If needed reduce the pan liquids a little bit, and pour the pan drippings over the scallops and spinach.
Sometimes the simplest foods are the best foods. This recipe is yet one more way to use that big block of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Also I get to continue my obsession with Italian food. A perfect easy Sunday dinner.
Pasta alla Carbonara
½ pound fresh linguine
1 teaspoon olive oil
about 4 ounces diced pancetta
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
½ grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
¼ cup diced fresh flat leaf parsley
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese curls
Fill a pot with water and set to boil. Heat a different pot on medium high and add the oil and pancetta. Stir the pancetta so that it browns evenly. While the pancetta is browning, hopefully the water has reached a boil. Add salt and the pasta, cook according to package directions. Add the minced garlic. When the garlic softens, turn off the heat. Beat the egg with the grated Parmesan. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid and immediately add the wet pasta to the pancetta. Stir in the egg mixture, the parsley and salt and pepper. Toss till the sauce thickens. Add some of the pasta water if necessary if the egg mixture gets too thick.
Serve the pasta in a bowl with the Parmigiano curls.
My downstairs neighbor, Dave, is the master of meat. Though he is Jewish we have spent the past two Christmas Eves together. This year, we threw a big dinner and roasted a whole goose. It was glorious. However, that bird produced fat in biblical proportions. So I made potatoes!
Goose Fat Roasted Potatoes
6 russet potatoes
salt and pepper
½ cup rendered goose fat
2 cloves of garlic
1 head of flat leaf parsley
Pre heat your oven to its hottest setting.
Wash and scrub each potato. Cut each into approximately 1 inch, bite size pieces. Try to keep each piece an even size so that they will all cook at the same time. Place the potatoes in a bowl of salted water while you cut up each potato.
Drain the potatoes and place them on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the potatoes generously with salt and pepper and coat them in the goose fat. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
Finely mince the garlic and parsley while the potatoes are roasting in the oven
Using tongs, turn the potatoes so that they can crisp on more than one side. Roast for another 30 minutes.
When the potatoes come out of the oven, sprinkle them with the garlic and parsley and more salt and pepper, serve.