Saturday, September 24, 2011

Scallops with Pea Puree, Pancetta and Gremolata

Moment of honesty:  Beyond being an opportunity for socializing, inviting people for dinner is the way I motivate myself to clean the house. 

R likes to say, "I'm busy that day" (regardless of whether he knows the day) to avoid the chores.  But, he always comes around and "makes time in his busy schedule."

I don't mind telling my guests that we cleaned up, to counterbalance the facade we've created of having a meticulous house.  But, there's no way I would actually have people over when my house is a mess.  

Last weekend, we invited some friends for dinner.  The mains were fairly standard (brisket, roasted potatoes, tomato salad), but I decided to go a bit fancy for the appetizer.

I found this recipe on Alosha's Kitchen.  If you haven't visited Melissa's blog, you should -- she has a great variety of dishes that will definitely entice you.  Melissa got this recipe from her friend, Amy. 

Scallops with Pea Puree, Pancetta and Gremolata


1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
3 ounces diced pancetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups frozen early sweet peas, thawed
1 cup chicken broth
12 medium sea scallops, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter


For the gremolata: in a small bowl combine the parsley, lemon zest, and one tablespoon of shallot. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the pancetta until crispy and cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan, leaving some of the reserved fat in the pan. Set aside.

In the same pan, over medium heat, sauté the garlic and remaining shallots for about 3-4 minutes. Add the peas and broth and season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 5 minutes.

Transfer the contents to a blender and puree to a smooth consistency (I used an immersion blender). Return the puree to the pan, along with the cooked pancetta, cover and set aside to keep warm.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter and the remaining olive oil over medium-high until very hot. Add scallops and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and almost firm to the touch, about 3 minutes per side.

On serving plates, arrange the scallops on top of the puree and sprinkle with the gremolata.

Note: The dish was flavourful and well-received.  It looks fancy, but is pretty easy to make.  I consider it a success and feel a scallop kick coming on.  

If you're making this for guests, I recommend cooking the pancetta well before guests arrive to avoid having a house full of smoke when guests arrive..  If I were to do it again, I'd probably not add salt to the pea blend since the pancetta is already quite salty.  


That Girl said...

I use the same housecleaning trick.

Hopie said...

Oh I definitely agree on having people over in order to clean house. I do that on purpose as well :-) This dish does look fancy and delicious. I love scallops!

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