Sometimes the best pairings are accidental.
One weekend when I had some work to do, I asked my husband to go to the local fish market and pick up one of their marvelous chowders that could be reheated for lunch. He came home instead with a pound of local bay scallops, the first of the season (and abundant this year). Now I had to cook.
Fortunately, I had other suitable ingredients on hand and in less than 30 minutes, lunch was on the table. Not one to let a tasting opportunity go to waste, I figured the dish I almost literally threw together would be compatible with a bottle of simple white Burgundy. It had just enough richness in the glass.
Then I also opened a bottle of ordinary red Burgundy. It was light and lean enough for the scallops, and the touch of tomato picked up the wine’s restrained fruit. So my husband had his scallops. And because he gave in to temptation instead of my suggestion, I had my recipe. About a week later, I made it again, and spooned the scallops over spaghetti alla chitarra.
Bay Scallops Provençal
Time: 20 minutes
1. Season the flour with some salt and pepper and toss the scallops in it. Heat the oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté over medium heat a few minutes, until soft. Remove, draining well to keep most of the oil in the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. Shake excess flour from the scallops and sauté them, tossing, until lightly browned.
2. Return the shallot and garlic to the skillet. Add the tomatoes and sauté until they soften, a minute or so. Add the lemon juice and wine and stir just until the ingredients are well combined. With a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to a warm serving dish. (It’s fine if some vegetables hitch a ride with the scallops.)
3. Increase the heat to high and reduce the liquid until it thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Lower heat, swirl in the butter and check the seasoning. Fold in the parsley. Pour the sauce over the scallops and arrange the toast around the platter.
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