Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fettuccine With Scallops and Lime

Last nights dinner was in a word FANTASTIC! Thanks once again to my newest BFF Chef Cat Cora for a meal that makes me feel like I could actually have a dinner party. The cumin coated scallops browned and cooked just the way Chef Ramsey abused, I mean instructed. This dish is spicy hot but the avocado and butter makes it creamy, smooth and rich. I would actually pay for this dish in a restaurant. The best part is that it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.
Photograph by Mike Johnston

Fettuccine With Scallops and Lime
Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 16 medium scallops, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fish stock or store-bought low-sodium stock
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

Fill a large pot with water, add the salt, and bring to a boil.

In a large bowl, toss the scallops with the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.

When the water boils, stir in the fettuccine and cook until it's al dente, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until it begins to shimmer but not smoke. Add the scallops and cook, turning with tongs, until almost cooked through, about 1 minute per side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Pour the stock into the pan and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. When the pasta is al dente, 9 - 11 minutes, drain it, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Add the red pepper flakes, lime zest, and half of the butter to the stock, whisking until the butter is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the remaining butter and whisk until the sauce has thickened. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss; add the cilantro and toss again. If the mixture isn't saucy enough, add some of the reserved pasta water. Divide the pasta among the serving bowls. Distribute the scallops and sliced avocado evenly among the bowls, garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

Cat gives a twist on this recipe. I will probably try it when I make this next time.  It is called the tequila twist. She says "[a]fter you've cooked the scallops on both sides, pour in 1/2 cup tequila (stand back!) and flambe. With a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to a platter, pour the stock into the pan, and proceed as directed."

Since I live in the mid-west there is no such thing as a fresh scallop. I have to buy mine frozen.  One trick I have learned is they will not brown unless you dry them.  I wrap mine in a tea towel and press down on them gently to remove the water. 

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did. It's quick, easy and will truly impress your friends and neighbors.

Life is good - enjoy!

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