8 February, 2019
Pan Seared Scallops in Creamy Champagne Sauce
If you have never paired tender, buttery, pan seared scallops with a creamy wine sauce, you are totally missing out! Toss the whole thing with some fresh linguine and crispy crumbled bacon, and you have a very special dinner for two for Valentine’s Day (or any day really, because this stuff is legit.)
Eric was out of town this week and I realized I’m completely incapable of adulting without him.
I was in the shower this morning when I heard Charlotte bang on the door over my music that was playing. That was somehow the first moment I heard the incredibly loud blaring of our house alarm. Oh no! Why did someone have to break into our house while I’m naked??
And then my second thought was, oh, one of the kids must have gone outside, and I forgot to disarm the house (the usual cause of our alarm going off). Whew, no robber, just a kid! How dare they walk outside?? (As if that were a crime.)
But I asked Charlotte who went outside, and she pointed at the wide open window in my bathroom, which I had just opened, which of course set off the alarm. Eric is always the one to disarm the house in the morning. How can I be expected to remember these things when he’s gone??
Usually when he goes out of town the kids and I fend for ourselves in the kitchen too. I have a hard time being motivated to cook when there’s not another adult around. I mean, kids like sandwiches, right? So do I! There, dinner’s done in 10 minutes and no food battles.
But this time we were eating like kings, because I wanted to try out a fancy Valentine’s Day dinner for you! Have you ever had scallops before?
This was my first time making or even eating scallops. I know, I know, do I live under a rock?? But I was one of those kids who hated seafood, and I’m just waking up to the fact that seafood is actually totally amazing and I’ve been missing out my whole life. I have a lot of new seafood experiences to cover!
I wanted to try making scallops because they just seem so perfect for a sexy dinner for two. For starters, they are crazy expensive (like $20/lb where I live) so that right there makes this special-occasion food. (It’s still cheaper to make them at home than get them in a restaurant though, trust me.) On top of that it is SUPER fast and easy to make pan seared scallops, which means it would be really fun to cook these together in the kitchen on a date.
Plus, and most importantly, pan seared scallops are AMAZING. You will not believe how tender, soft, and buttery they are if you have never made them at home. The outside is seared to a beautiful golden crisp, and the inside just melts in your mouth. Dousing it in creamy wine sauce and sprinkling with bacon just puts it over the top.
Buy the freshest scallops you can find, obviously. I don’t live on the coast so I just bought the frozen kind from the grocery store, and even these were super delicious and briny. Make sure you buy scallops that haven’t been treated with chemicals or water, it messes with the flavor.
Once you thaw them completely according to package instructions, take a minute to remove the side muscle from each scallop. Just slide it off with your finger, it should be quite obvious. It’s easy to do and only takes a second. Sometimes the side muscle falls off on its own and you don’t need to worry about it. They are just a little tough, so we don’t want them in our final dish.
Once your scallops are prepped and ready, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and pan sear in some super hot bacon grease. Bacon grease just makes everything better, what can I say? Plus you will already have it from the bacon that you already crumbled. YES BACON. I’m telling you guys, it’s a winning combination.
The creamy wine sauce is also super easy to make. I don’t drink alcohol because I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, but I do love the flavor that cooking wine adds to this dish. I used Sherry cooking wine for this sauce. If you drink, you could just buy a bottle of champagne to enjoy while making this! You need 1 cup for the sauce.
I also added a tablespoon of champagne vinegar to bring in even more of that flavor. It’s an expensive ingredient, and it’s optional, especially if you are using real champagne and not cooking wine. I already had some in my cupboard, but if you don’t see yourself using it again, you can skip it (champagne vinegar does make a really mean salad dressing though).
Once the scallops are seared and the champagne sauce is ready, all you have to do is boil up some pasta and toss in a few handfuls of spinach to wilt at the end. I love the color and texture it adds. Plus, adding spinach means this creamy pasta is totally healthy, right??
I almost forgot to mention, if you are not into seafood much, this is still a killer pasta recipe. Leave out the pan seared scallops and double the bacon! Boom.
What are you guys doing for Valentine’s Day? Going out or staying in? We always celebrate as a family, and then Eric and I go out later when the restaurants aren’t so insanely crowded. But I think we will schedule a date night in with these pan seared scallops, and maybe follow it up with a Bob Ross session. Have you guys ever done an at-home paint night? We are not very talented painters (like, at all) but it is kind of fun to buy canvases and follow along making happy little trees!
Three years ago: Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting
Four years ago: Raspberry Sweet Rolls with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Five years ago: Red Pepper Soup with Black Bean “Meat”balls
If you have never paired tender, buttery, pan seared scallops with a creamy wine sauce, you are totally missing out! Toss the whole thing with some fresh linguine and crispy crumbled bacon, and you have a very special dinner for two for Valentine’s Day.
by The Food Charlatan
**When I cook with chicken broth, I almost always use Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. So for this recipe, I used 1 and 3/4 cup water and 1 and 3/4 teaspoon chicken base.
To plate the pasta so that it looks nice and twirly like in a restaurant, use tongs or a carving fork. Stick it in the center of the pasta and start twirling. Place a spoon underneath and lift it up, spinning the whole time, then transfer to your plate. It takes a bit of practice, I’m still learning!
Adapted from the Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook.
Lemon Pasta with Ricotta and Fresh Peas << you could throw seared mussels on top of this dish too, and it would be amazing!
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Asparagus << This is a classic. We love this meal. (also hello low carb!)
Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella << this feels so fancy and it’s SOOOO easy. Would be fun to make together on a date.