I’m usually relaxed cooking for people who I already know quite well, because I feel like they already know what to expect, and minor accidents in the kitchen are forgivable. But cooking for someone new? Oh god, it’s so nerve-wracking, I get performance anxiety, and it’s even worse when I’ve already mentioned this food blog… Because then, they think: food blog = expert chef! SO MUCH PRESSURE!!!! You would think that this would cause me to cook a tried and true recipe that I am sure will work out. But no, I was itching to try this scallop recipe, and I had a feeling that my new dinner guest would like it too, given that like me, he knows good food, and has a somewhat refined palate. How did it turn out? Well it was actually really good!! The scallops could have been cooked a little better, i.e. seared quickly on very high heat, instead of being cooked slowly on medium… But what can I say, I was awfully nervous, and was distracted entertaining, and there was wine. I don’t really recommend this recipe as a first for someone who’s never tasted your cooking before, since it wasn’t the simplest thing to make, but if you’re impulsive and crazy like me, it’ll do!
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 large leeks
3 C spinach
3 T butter
12 large scallops
1/4 C feta
First, roast the tomatoes. You’ll want to toss them with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, then pop them in the oven for an hour at 400F.
Then, the polenta. You can make it from scratch with cornmeal, or you can go the lazy way, which is what I did, and just buy it already semi-coooked. All you have to do is heat it over the stove, and add enough water to achieve the consistency you want, and then add in the feta for extra taste. I made this in advance.
As for the leeks and spinach, you’ll want to add olive oil to a pan, and cook the chopped leeks until transparent, then add the spinach and cook until wilted. You can do this while you sear the scallops.
For the scallops, add butter to a pan, and when hot, sear the scallops on each side. Careful not to overcook!
I made the tomatoes and polenta in advance and kept them warm, and then made the spinach/leeks and scallops at the last minute. Spoon some polenta onto a plate, add the tomatoes, spinach and leeks, then top with the scallops!