Thursday, January 24, 2013

Seared Sea Scallops with Wild Rice and Brussel Sprouts

There is nothing better than a perfectly cooked scallop. With their sweet flavor and smooth texture they are simply a treat. Although scallops tend to be on the pricier side, they are worth it for a special occasion or a romantic dinner for two. Making them on your own is much cheaper than ordering out and can be an impressive dinner for chefs or that special someone.

Scallops are a low fat/calorie food and a great source of protein. 1 sea scallop is about 35 calories, 0 g fat, and 6 g protein! It's usually the sauces that can get you into trouble. Cooking them on your own, allows you to control what ingredients go into your meal!

I like to grill them, but since it has been below 0 degrees, it's safe to say I was not planning to fire up the grill. They can be seared in minutes on the stovetop and take on a wonderful caramelized color and flavor. Do your best not to overcook them as they become rubbery and unpalatable!

I opted for a simple garlic lemon butter sauce. Yes, I said butter. Portion control here is key (only a few tablespoons of sauce). That way we get the great flavor, but with fewer calories and grams of fat. Plus, I did say it was for a special occasion :)

Tips for purchasing scallops:
-If planning to sear or grill choose sea scallops over bay scallops (they are the larger of the two types)

-If you don't have a fresh fish market nearby, your best option might be frozen. (You don't know how long they have been sitting out in a supermarket). Allow to thaw in a refrigerator vs on the countertop for a safe thawing process!

-Often scallops are soaked in a phosphate solution that absorbs water to make them appear larger. These can be almost impossible to sear and the end result is more like a steamed scallop. Look for "chemical-free" or "dry packed" to ensure best quality.

Seared Sea Scallops with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce
Serves 4

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound sea scallops
salt and pepper

1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped shallots or sweet onion
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Place the oil in a large frying pan over medium-heat heat. (To test if the pan is hot enough, splash a tiny bit of water in the pan, it should start to splatter within a few seconds).
3. Cook the scallops for ~3 minutes per side.
4. Meanwhile, start the butter sauce by placing all of the butter, garlic, onion, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to melt, stirring frequently. Add the white wine and stir. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
5. Serve scallops over wild rice and a side of brussel sprouts. Drizzle with lemon butter sauce.

Nutrition Facts:
4-5 scallops with sauce: 200 calories, 4 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat (2g saturated), 19 g protein.
Scallops with sauce, 3/4 cup wild rice, 1 cup Brussel sprouts: 375 calories, 38 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 9.5 g fat, 6 g fiber, 250 mg sodium.

Don't let that white wine go to would compliment the light flavor of this meal!

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