4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed
Juice of 2 lemons, about 3/4 of a cup
15 large sea scallops (about a pound) rinsed and patted dry with paper towels.
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saute pan heat three tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes. When the garlic just begins to turn brown put in handfuls of the spinach. Allow the bottom layer to wilt and then stir the spinach around. When all of the spinach is just wilted, turn off the heat. Add 1/2 of the lemon juice, another teaspoon of the garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Toss it all together, then put it in a serving container and cover to keep warm.
Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add the butter, and allow it to melt over medium high heat. Swirl the butter/ oil mixture around in the pan to blend. When it begins to bubble lightly, add the scallops. Allow to brown on each side (about 2 minutes per side). Be sure to allow plenty of space between the scallops or they will brown instead of steam.
Remove scallops from heat and cover to keep warm. Add white wine, red pepper flakes, remaining garlic and lemon juice to the pan. Turn heat up to high. Stir regularly and watch closely. Allow the sauce to reduce by half, it will turn a dark golden brown.
When finished, stir the chopped parsley into the sauce and prepare to serve. If you wish to plate the dish, do a center circle of spinach with four scallops placed evenly around the circle. Spoon sauce over each scallop.
Heaping spoonfuls of Saffron Risotto, placed in between the scallops and sprinkled with parmasean cheese look great and round out the meal.
Making a batch of risotto while one is sauteing away is a doable propostion, but it does require some attention.
Here is a good lazy-lady (or elegantly efficient) alternative: Alessi brand Risotto Milanese (available at Amazonfresh and other markets). This easy and tasty alternative brings great results and requires very little attention. To make it even better, use chicken broth instead of water, and olive oil instead of butter. We also crumble a pinch of saffron threads into the broth to create a stronger saffron presence.
When shopping for scallops, for a sweeter, fresher flavor, we recommend buying them frozen. The scallops in most seafood cases were frozen at sea and thawed, but when? When you buy the scallops frozen, you control the thawing process. Scallops can be put in the refrigerator the day before to thaw. To speed up the process, the scallops can be placed in a colander, in the sink and allowed to thaw (they will thaw in 2-3 hours). Rinse scallops well with cool water and dry thoroughly before preparing.