This is a recipe taken from Back Pocket Pasta by our friend Colu Henry. Scallops are always something I know I will find at the grocery store on the island, so this became our Sunday supper and was the first thing to try out her new book. It was sooooo good!
Colu believes in heavily salting the pasta water, as she often uses some of that water to mix with the pasta and the other ingredients to create a sort of sauce when everything gloriously mixes together. Begin by filling a large pot with water and bring that to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of salt and return to a rolling boil. While that is bubbling away, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Then cook the salt & pepper seasoned scallops, 3 minutes a side. Take them out of the pan and set aside on a plate.
Wipe out the skillet, change the heat to low, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and add a thinly sliced shallot and cook until carmelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Take out and set aside. This is not the season for Sun Gold tomatoes (which I am excited to in this dish when they start showing up at farm stands) so she recommends using grape tomatoes, which I did. Add them to the skillet and let cook away for about 8 minutes or until they start to burst open, releasing their juices, which will become part of the sauce. Season heavily with pepper and lightly with salt. While the tomatoes cook away add 3/4 of a pound of linguine to the boiling salted water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking away add 2 sliced garlic to the tomatoes along with a half of a cup each of chopped tarragon, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley and sliced 1/2 inch long chives. Mix all together with the tomatoes in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the shallots you have already cooked.
Here is where most folks toss all the pasta water away and drain the pasta. Don’t. Here is where you will need tongs or long spoons–you want to pull the pasta out of the boiling water and add the pasta right to the skillet of tomato goodness. Then add a 1/4 of a cup of the hot cooking liquid to the lot. Now mix all around. The pasta water starts bringing all the ingredients together to create the ‘sauce’ and each strand of pasta is lovingly coated it in. Once all is combined, and certainly add more pasta water if needed, separate into 4 bowls, sprinkle with any remaining herbs from what you had chopped, along with a sprinkling of chunky sea salt, then add the scallops to the top of it all. Dinner is served.
Tickets are available for Colu’s book signing at the shop next Thursday eve, the 30th of March. The price is $35 which gets you her book, treats by Spinasse and wine by Cavatappi–along with a heck of a fun time. We will be donating the profits from the sale of the book to Meals on Wheels. (More on this amazing organization later) Call 206.652.8350 to purchase tickets and reserve your spot. Hope to see you there!
This is a super tasty warm salad our niece Haley made for us last night out at WestWard. TPS made meatloaf with mashed potatoes–quite possibly the most comforting, homey duo ever. Her leek & kale salad a lovely balance. She walked me through it after supper, as I was taking a quick nap when she whipped it up. Ohhhhh, I do love Sundays…
Start with the kale, cutting away all the spines on the stems, leaving you with just those glorious leafy greens. Chop them up. Haley likes to put them in a big bowl and massages in salt, which helps to start break down a bit of the roughness kale can have. It just sits soaking up the salt while you get everything else ready.
In a good sized skillet, heat up extra virgin olive oil and add your cut up leeks. Sauté until soft and a bit browned. Then add another glug of olive oil and add the salted kale. Cook for just a few minutes to wilt the kale. Then turn off heat. Add the juice of half of a lemon and the zest of the entire lemon to the leek and kale mixture. The lemon will mix about with the olive oil creating just the lightest vinaigrette. Add a few cracks of pepper and a handful of Parmesan and the warm salad is ready to be served.
As the chilly breeze blows about through the window and rain taps gently on the sill, my mind wanders to late Summer at the end of August. The tomatoes overflowing at the farm stands and the buckets of dahlias at the Market a riot of intense color. For many of you reading, your hot season is at this very moment. For others, your cold season is winding down. On this chilly early Sunday morning, I am dreaming of being on the deck at WestWard in full sun thinking of what to make with all the tomatoes. Wherever you are, I wish you just the very best day. Oh, and happy Oscar night too, if that is your thing!
We were excited to head to the island yesterday for a little WestWard time. No guests this week-end, so a simple chèvre stuffed chicken breast, baked potato and a little Romanesco was on the menu. It has become a favorite veg–one for the taste but I also think they look cool, slightly other-worldly. And they are green! The grocery store had quite small versions, so I bought 2. Slathered them with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them whole in the oven while the chicken and potatoes cooked away. I put them on a sheet pan and began to roast them whole in a 400 degree oven. Towards the end of the cooking process they were not looking as cooked/golden as I wanted, so I split them in half, putting the core side down on the baking sheet, where I let them cook away for another 15 minutes. Just the right amount of time to give them that golden hue I was going for.
The leaves on scented geranium deserve a Flower Friday shout-out for their extraordinary beauty. Often, the stems & leaves of flowers and plants can equal or surpass the prettiness of the bloom. That is certainly the case here. Whether a single stem or a big bunch massed together, they bring so much joy.
Use small vintage plates or bowls that are no longer part of a larger set, as little dishes to hold a variety of things–like cherry tomatoes with sea salt, change from your pocket, or your keys. They can be incredibly beautiful so prolong their life and enjoy these solo gems.
This is a story of tradition, a table setting and saying farewell to our lovely, lovely Summer.
The dahlias just so perfect from the Market on Saturday I about shed a tear as they were being wrapped up. They would be just the right colors as we say good-bye to Summmaaa and welcome in Autumn. The red bowls a Christmas gift from last year that we have used time and again and adore.
Then the red Laguoile silverware, napkins in a vintage Lucite ring, a heavy French wine glass had the table set and ready for the fun stuff.
Part of my collection of number 11 pool balls would be called into action as well as dominos and a matchstriker plus 11 plates from the shops from ages ago along with a few other random red things. All stuff that makes us happy plus it pulls from the colors of the dahlias so it brings it all together. We were set to have our season ending meal with dearest of friends who we have a 10+ year tradition of sharing an alfresco supper with at WestWard during the sunny season.
This has become one of my new favorite desserts, sort of a cross between a pancake and a soufflé, to make this Summer as the blueberries have been exceptional on both coasts this season. But I plan on making this year round. I first saw a recipe for this in a magazine when we were at Hawthorne and gave it a try. I have since seen mention of it as a breakfast option, which I think would be yummy too, but I really love serving it as a dessert.
A black cast iron pan/skillet from 8 to 12 inches is best, but I have also make one in a non-stick pan and it worked swell. Turn on the oven to heat up to a hot 425 degrees while you mix up this batter. In a good sized bowl add a half of a cup of flour, half of a cup of whole milk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and an 1/8 of a teaspoon of both salt and ground nutmeg. Mix all together. Don’t worry, fine if a tad lumpy. Set aside.
Then add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pan/skillet which is on the stovetop on medium high heat. Let the butter melt being sure it is covering the entire interior surface of the bottom of the skillet. Then add the mixture to that. Working quickly, scatter a half to a cup of fresh blueberries to the mixture. It is now ready to go into the now quite hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Check at 15 and if it not inflated and brown edged, cook a bit longer. It is the prettiest, puffiest darn thing right when it comes out of the oven (which makes it soufflé like) but will deflated quite quickly (which makes it pancake like) while still so yummy looking. Take a half cut lemon and squeeze over the entire thing. Cut and serve with a spoonful of maple syrup over each piece and to guild the lily, add a sprinkling of powdered sugar right when ready to serve. I promise you will have happy guests. Enjoy!