Looking to impress your partner? This dish is guaranteed to impress, destress, and lead to your success. Plus, it's quick enough that you'll still have time to get funky.
This is the time of year we start to anxiety-eat lots of fresh tomatoes because, pretty soon, it'll be back to canned or jarred varieties. This dish came about because we wanted something on the lighter side, fresh, and with a seafood component.
I didn't have a chance to bake bread, so we bought our favorite baguette in Texas (actually anywhere, for that matter) from Easy Tiger. The flavor is unparalleled, for real.
You'll see standard grape tomatoes along with cultivar tomatoes, which come in a variety of colors and sizes due to breeding - these ones are from Mexico. We also have typical standards of garlic, shallot, thyme, basil, and lemon. Finally, something that isn't so standard in this type of dish: red potato. And why not try it? It was on its way out.
I would have given the potato to Leela, but her prissy ass doesn't really like raw vegetables.
The basil comes from an awesome hydroponic unit that my mom & dad got me. It's amazing how much grows in that thing!
Here's everything prepped. I used one-half of the shallot and one-half of the potato. The garlic is smashed and rough-chopped. We love garlic. If a recipe calls for something like two cloves, which is useless, we use at least five.
Don't be a two-clove user. Ever.
On to Cooking
This is another dish that comes together in about an hour, which is great for a mid-week, satisfying dinner. Prep time shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes, and that includes wine-drinking time.
First, we're gonna put the pan on medium heat, add EVOO, and cook the potato for about 10 minutes. Make sure they don't brown, we just want them to soften. Turn the heat down if needed. Next, sweat out the shallot and then add the garlic and thyme - cook until fragrant.
Now add wine and butter, stirring to combine, and finally toss in the tomatoes. My go-to cooking wine here is a Sauvignon Blanc which was priced around $10. Don't cook with a wine you wouldn't drink, right? Just make sure it's dry.
Cook down until the tomatoes begin to break apart and the sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes. They're so sweet and flavorful. Check out the green ones... pretty cool.
Let's Talk About Scallops
Can we talk about scallops for a minute? Scallops are one of, if not the single, seafood you can cook with near-perfect accuracy with minimal effort. We can add shrimp to that list too. But it's surprising how many restaurants can't prepare them correctly.
For this dish, we're using large sea scallops from Whole Foods. Rinse them under cold water to remove any lingering grit and pat dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with sea salt and cracked black pepper (imagine that). It's all you need.
Gritty seafood is huge no-no at The Hotel
There are only two keys to cooking amazing scallops:
- Use medium-high heat
- Cook for only two-and-a-half to three minutes per side
If your heat is too low, you get no color... no sear. If you cook for longer than three minutes, they'll have a tough, stringy texture. You don't want that! The scallop should have a soft mouthfeel from the body with texture coming from the sear.
Here we go: get that pan hot on medium-high then add grapeseed oil. Once the oil shimmers, place the scallops in the pan in a circle. The reason you do a circle is so that when it comes to flipping them, you know the order in which to flip them over (start with the first).
Sear the first side then flip, and when the second side is almost done, add butter and spoon it over the scallops as it melts. Bingo! You have amazing scallops in 6 minutes. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
🐶 Leela Storm's Suggested Pairings
- 🎵 Les McCann & Eddie Harris: Compared To What
- 🍷 Citrusy, mid-bodied California Chardonnay
🍽 Kitchen Critique
Look how nice it looks on a white plate! The sauce is slightly rich, but not overly heavy. The tomato juice and thyme keep it fresh and light.
A perfect bite includes a bit of everything with a touch of basil for brightness. Don't forget to finish off that extra sauce with the baguette!
- Leela likes us to keep things fresh at The Hotel, so get that fade hooked up, and buy some fresh tomatoes of any variety while you can
- A core group of ingredients make the difference between "ok" and "please sir, can I have some more"
- Remember the two things to remember when cooking scallops (read above)!