Monday, October 27, 2008

hurricane hanna linguine and scallops

I belong to a group of 5 wonderful friends that we affectionately call the Yayas. I know. We stole it from the Rebecca Wells book, "the divine secrets of the yaya sisterhood". It's kind of corny but we all read the book and since we didn't have a name it kind of stuck. It fits. I can say "well the Yayas are going to do this or that" and it's easier than "well the friends that live all over the country and that I see every year are going to do this or that". Besides, our bond is so close that it indeed seems divine.
We didn't grow up together like the characters in the book. We all met in Texas, where none of us were from. There is a definite us and them feeling in Texas. Those that were born there and couldn't imagine living anywhere else and those that arrived later in life and wondered "where in the world did I land?". Most of us met at a church in the outskirts of Dallas and kind of glommed onto each other like fellow foreigners tend to do. After a few sun-baked years we began to move away, one by one. It was on a trip to Charlotte where two of my friends had moved to that our groupness, our Yayaness cemented. We knew that our friendships were important and we vowed to continue to meet yearly.
This year we met in Charleston, South Carolina. We like to go to places that have beaches, fun shopping and great restaurants. Charleston seemed like a perfect place to visit and it was, except that we were visiting during hurricane season. I suppose we thought, "what are the chances that we will be affected? Hurricanes can hit in many different places". We booked our non-refundable beach front condo. Perfect! Except Hurricane Hanna was heading straight for Charleston. Seeing as we only get together once a year this seemed like a reasonable risk to take and off we went.
For most of our time in Charleston the weather was perfectly agreeable. We headed for the beach as soon as we got there and got caught up in each other's lives. We ate in lovely courtyard restaurants and did the obligatory horse drawn carriage tour. But Hanna was coming and the restaurants were boarding up. As the clouds, wind and bands of rain started to roll in we headed for the grocery store and bought our provisions. I usually cook one meal for the group anyway and this was a good time for it. Which brings me to the recipe.
Technically, the storm was down-graded to a tropical storm by the time it hit us but tropical storm hanna linguine and scallops doesn't have the same ring to it as:

hurricane hanna linguine and scallops

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Cooking Light magazine. My version has a little more cream and cilantro and a little less ginger. I also give a slightly larger portion of pasta to soak up the flavorful sauce. The result is a wonderful, unexpected taste compared to a typical pasta dish and is now my favorite recipe. The recipe is for 2 servings so you will have to do some math if you want to serve more. I know, it seems a great sacrifice to use a whole cup of wine, 1/3 of a bottle, but you will not be sorry.

1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter, cut up into small pieces
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt (I always use kosher or sea salt)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces (dry weight) hot cooked linguine
olive oil
8 to 12 ounces large sea scallops, dried well with paper towels
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium skillet; bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid is reduced to1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Drain mixture through a fine sieve into a boil, reserving liquid; discard solids.
Return wine mixture to skillet. Add cream; cook over medium heat 1 minute. Add butter, stirring until it melts. Stir in tomato, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Add linguine; toss well and keep warm on very low heat.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add enough olive oil to keep scallops from sticking, about 1 tablespoon. Sprinkle scallops with a little salt and pepper and arrange in hot pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until nicely browned and cooked on the inside.
Divide the linguine into 2 shallow wide bowls and top with the seared scallops. Garnish with more cilantro.

*Make sure that you dry the scallops very well and do not over-crowd the skillet. I made that mistake on one occasion and they simply wouldn't brown. Although still tasty, the scallops lacked that lovely brown crust that makes food so tasty.

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. ~Voltaire


Little Miss Know it All said...

Yay!!! I've been saying for years you should do this!! You are unarguably the best cook I know!! You have spurred me to try new things and expand my horizons! I never leave your home without saying its the best meal I've had in a long, long time! And you're frugal too! Love it!

big hugs, and big congrats!

Marlene Picton said...

Thanks! You have been telling me to do this for a while. I'm always a few years behind everyone else aren't I? What?! Shoulder pads aren't in anymore?!

Paul Picton said...

I have had the luxury of enjoying this dish. It has a great combination of tastes and flavors.

Deanne said...

Marlene made this the day before our wedding and everyone loved it!!! I'm making it this week for Pat and Zach. Pat didn't have the pleasure of enjoying it with all of our family on Sept 26th, so will now be able to just over a month later. Thanks Marlene, you are one of the best cooks of our family!! Well, so is Monique, Gloria, Roger, Mike, me....well we're all pretty good, but you stand out!! I'm proud of you for going for it and starting this blog!!! You've got much to share with this world where it comes to enjoying food!!! Love you!!!!

Dear Lord I hope shoulder pads won't come back, but yeah they will one day!! Yikes!!

Little Miss Know it All said...

Oh, and apparently I love exclamation points! I didn't know I did that.....

Just so excited for you!

bpallthetime said...

You are awsome, and a good cook. Haha everyone over the years was right, that when I moved out I would be disapointed to how food is for the rest of the world. I do miss your food a lot, and you of course, but I can't beleive how blah the food is here usually and whats weird is that its normal for most people.
Love ya lots.

Paul Picton said...

I really like the picture of you with the veggies! It turned out really well - even better than Rachael Ray!