I have this beautiful friend who I reconnected with after meeting her many years ago. We have an amazing time discussing our love lives, current events and the latest Hollywood gossip. This month, I am on a budget, so I had a bunch of things in my pantry that would get me by this month. She loves seafood…and I am allergic to some shellfish, so scallops was our winner, because I love them and can eat them! When you are on a budget, and you go to the supermarket…and you really want seafood…go for the frozen section. You can always defrost it and it can be up to 5 times cheaper than buying it fresh. Also, it’s even safer to buy it frozen, because after the catch, it is frozen right away, which stays within the safety guidelines for handling seafood or fish. You can’t go wrong in the frozen section. I have a tip for scallops that I use. About a half hour before I am going to saute them, I soak them in a small bowl of cold, filtered water with some sea salt and slices of squeezed lemon. As it thaws, the lemon and salt permeate the scallops and you can see the slightly ceviche look to them before they are ready to be sizzled. I use a half lemon for 8 scallops.
After thawing the scallops, I pat them dry, then sizzle them in butter. I add the capers, balsamic vinegar and thicken it. I add some of the pasta water for an extra thickening agent and salt and pepper to taste. The capers add a briny component which bursts open in your mouth and is bathed in the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar. You get the protein kick of the scallops, the colorful al dente bite of the pasta and the flavorful, briny yet velvety kick of the butter sauce.
Balsamic Butter Glazed Scallops w/Colorful Rotini Pasta
1 cup rotini pasta (cork screw shaped pasta)
8 scallops (thawed or fresh)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp capers (chopped)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (good quality)
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saute pan, simmer 2 tablespoons of the butter on medium to high heat (adjusting as necessary) and start to sizzle the scallops so that they are golden brown on either side (about 2 minutes per side). Remove the scallops and set aside.
In a large pot, fill with salted water to accommodate the pasta and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 7 minutes until al dente.
In the previous saute pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until bubbling, and add the chopped capers. Sizzle until they are starting to look toasty (could be up to 4 minutes depending on the temperature of the heat), then add the balsamic vinegar. Mix together and let it thicken (about 2-4 minutes).
Add the pasta water and mix together and allow it to thicken again.
Serve the pasta on a dish and pour the balsamic butter sauce over it. Sprinkle the chopped flat leaf parsley on top for an additional pop of color. ENJOY!!!