Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Seared Sea Scallops

Serves 4 (with leftover pesto)

  • 5 ounce packaged washed/dried arugula
  • 1 ounce parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic--skin still on
  • Large 1/3 cup raw walnuts
  • 4-6 T EVOO
  • Large pinch of salt
Pan-roast the garlic. In a small saute pan,  heat 1 tbsp canola oil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the garlic cloves. Turn each piece of garlic every few minutes till quite brown on all sides, but not black. This will roast the garlic in about 10 minutes.

Place walnuts in food processor and pulse until coarse-grained. Add everything else except EVOO and salt. Pulse till all is coarsely ground. Add 4 T oil, and pulse till you achieve correct pesto consistency --pretty fine, but no where near a paste. You should be able to distinguish individual grains. Add more EVOO if you need it, and salt to taste.

12 U-10 sea scallops (U-10 means 10 scallops/pound or under, so this is a LOT of fish).

Only use fresh scallops. Frozen will retain too much water and will not caramelize. Check scallops and remove attaching muscle if still present. If you have time, place scallops in a strainer and let them desiccate further. Individually dry each scallop with a paper towel. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 Tbsp of canola oil over high heat (canola oil is better than other oils for searing, b/c it has a higher smoke point, so you won't smoke up your house or burn the oil). Reduce heat to medium high and add scallops. Cook 1.5 to 2 minutes each side, or until you get a nice caramelization.

Cook pasta according to package directions (or better yet, make your own :). Reserve some of the pasta liquid. Strain pasta, then toss with 1/2 of the pesto. Add a few Tbsps pasta liquid if it appears too dry. Add more pesto if you would like something richer. Place scallops on top (sorry, pretty obvious on that one).