Monday, February 15, 2010

Scallops and shrimp with mushroom-red pepper sauce

For a special Valentine's Day dinner (on Sunday), I made this recipe. It came out so well, we vowed to have shellfish at home more often. It's crucial not to overcook scallops or they become rubbery, and that danger has made me wary of trying--what if I ruin these expensive babies? But with extra care, they came out perfect.

A couple of tips:
buy large scallops, which will be much easier to get right -- their thickness makes it less likely that you'll overcook them. I also bought a couple of jumbo shrimp (is that an oxymoron?) so that they stayed tender in my frying pan, too.

Rather than make a rich cream or butter sauce, I simply sauteed chopped mushrooms, red pepper and shallots in a little olive oil. I removed the veggies to a bowl, cooked the shellfish, and when the shellfish were on the plates, put the sauce back in the pan on high heat for a minute.
We had roasted asparagus -- my husband's favorite vegetable, a treat for him on Valentine's Day even though it's out of season and came from Peru. I also made a lovely salad with avocado dressing, which I'll be posting soon.

Recipe: Scallops and Shrimp with Mushroom-Red Pepper Sauce
Serves 2

3 T olive or canola oil, divided
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

10-12 ounces large sea scallops, drained and patted dry with paper towels (this is an important step -- scallops have a lot of liquid in them and if you don't dry them they won't brown)
6-8 ounces of the largest shrimp you can find, shelled, deveined and patted dry
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1-2 T of oil. When pan is hot, add vegetables (mushrooms through pepper) and stir-fry until veggies are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove veggies to a plate, cover and keep warm.
Raise heat to high. Add remaining oil. Sprinkle shellfish with salt and pepper and using tongs, add one at a time to the pan. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan -- fish should not touch each other. Allow scallops and shrimp to cook on high heat until they are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes depending on the heat of your pan and the thickness of your fish.
Turn and brown the other side. Total time in the pan should not exceed 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and remove fish to serving plates.
Immediately return sauce to the pan and stir quickly until heated through -- only another minute.
Pour over fish and serve.

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