Shrimp and Scallops: The "Other" Seafood
I like fish well enough, but given a choice between fish and other seafood, the "other" will usually win. When it comes to cooking that other seafood, shrimp and scallops are both pretty unintimidating to cook and serve, as opposed to, let's say, lobsters or crab that have those tough shells you have to deal with.
Scallops come ready-to-cook, and if you're really time challenged, you can buy your shrimp cleaned, cooked, and peeled. And like most other seafood, shrimp and scallops cook quickly. You can have dinner on the table in very little time, unlike that roast that needs to cook for a long, long time.
Part 1: Scallops and Corn
This dish would make a lovely appetizer, but it can also be a full meal -- the difference is portion size. If you want to serve it as an appetizer, but want the scallop portion to look more generous, slice the scallop in half horizontally. Present it with the seared side up.
The only minor detail you might need to take care of before cooking the scallops is to remove the tough bit that might still be attached. You'll see it -- it's a separate bit and it's usually a slightly different color. That piece is edible, but it's chewy. Remove it and discard it. Or, if you like to make stock from leftover bits, you can add those bits to the seafood stockpile.
The avocado for the corn salad can be a little firmer than what would be ideal for guacamole -- you want the pieces to hold their shape rather than immediately collapse. You still want a ripe avocado, though -- there's not much worse than a chewy, rubbery, unripe one.
Seared Scallops on Corn Salad
Kernels from 2 ears corn
1 medium or large tomato
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
6 large sea scallops
Part 2: Shrimp, Meet Artichoke
I love artichoke hearts, particularly when they're marinated and they've got that slightly acidic pickled flavor. But marinated artichokes usually come packed in oil. Probably healthy olive oil, but still, that's a lot of oil coating those artichokes.
Not long ago, I wrote about a cookbook recipe for marinated artichoke hearts. They weren't really like the ones you'll find in jars. These were cooked with a bit of olive oil and lemon, but the resulting product wasn't swimming in olive oil. Since then, I've made a few different versions of those artichokes. Variations piled on top of variations until the recipe is only vaguely related to the cookbook recipe. All I know is there are artichokes that get cooked in olive oil and there's lemon involved.
Lately, I've been eating artichoke hearts as a hot vegetable and a cold salad. Without all that oil the hearts are much more versatile. Instead of being treated like a pickle that you eat just a little bit of, they become a serving of vegetables.
This time, I paired the artichoke hearts with roasted red peppers and shrimp. It makes a pretty plate, and it can be made well in advance. You can serve the artichokes warm or cold. For that matter, you can serve the shrimp warm or cold, too.
Just like the scallop dish, this could be a small appetizer, a salad, or a main dish, depending on how you portion it.
Shrimp and Artichokes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained
1 red pepper, fire roasted and cleaned (or the equivalent, jarred)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned, cooked, and shells removed
Part 3: Shrimp and Scallops and Pasta, Oh My!
And now, how about a heartier dish with shrimp and scallops? This is a great dinner, but it's still a relatively light dish. A smaller portion would make a nice lunch. I used both shrimp and scallops, but this dish would be fine with just one. Or, if you have crab or clams or lobster, those would be great additions, as well.
This is a perfect use for leftover cooked seafood, but of course you can cook some specifically for this dish, too. The seafood is folded into the pasta at the last minute, so it won't overcook.
Shrimp and Scallops with Linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 pound baby portobella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
6 large scallops, seared and cooked through
6 medium shrimp, cooked
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pound linguine, cooked
Like this post? See Donna's previous topic: Breakfast: in a Sandwich, over a Biscuit, and in a Glass.
All photos by Donna Currie.
Donna is a Colorado food writer and the inventive blogger behind Cookistry. If she's not in the kitchen, she's likely shopping for intriguing new edibles.