I LOVE scallops. As in, I want to bury my face in the plate and motorboat them. I love how a good scallop can literally melt in your mouth. When made well they are so delicate and flavorful. It’s like cutting into butter. Just looking at these pictures brings back the taste of this dish and I wanna go make more!
One thing that I have found with high end restaurants that are gluten free friendly is that they always have a scallop offering. And 9 times out of 10 that is what I order. I totally judge a restaurant based on how good their scallops are. There was one such restaurant that I wanted to love so badly. They brought me out a plate of 10 (!!) scallops as my main course and I almost passed out. Usually you get 4 and are always wanting just one more. But 10! I was in heaven. Until I had the first bite. They were overcooked and soaked in the saltiest butter sauce that made me want to gag. Those beautiful scallops were mutilated by overpowering flavors.
When it comes to scallops I believe that simple is always better. They have such a great flavor all on their own. Any sauce that accompanies them needs to be light, delicate and clean. Then you can truly savor the natural flavors of the meat. A great scallop can be just as satisfying as a good steak. That is this humble seafood lover’s opinion anyway.
One of my favorite restaurants serves a scallops provencal with a simple mushroom and tomato sauce. It is so simple to make that I was able to duplicate it within the first couple of tries. The key is to start with the best ingredients, most importantly the scallop. You must buy the expensive scallops. There IS a difference! It is not going to be the cheapest dish to make but it will satisfy any foodie craving. You know. The one you get while watching Top Chef or The Biggest Loser. It’s always at 10:00 at night that I want to rummage in my fridge for goat cheese and foi gras.
Scallops come in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices. You may be tempted to save a little money and buy the cheaper bay scallops, but I promise you will regret it. For one, they just aren’t large enough for pan searing. And secondly I think they taste way too fishy and spoiled. I purchased the scallops for this dish at my local Whole Foods and they were a whopping $24.99 a pound. I thought since I was only purchasing 4 that I’d be ok, but my total was still over $12. I won’t lie. They were worth every penny and were a well deserved treat to myself. I only bought 4 because nobody else in my family eats them. I decided to make a nice lunch that day. I definitely recommend buying them and making them right away. This is not a food that you can just keep on ice for a couple of days. If you’ve never purchased scallops before, here is a great article explaining the differences in sea, bay and diver scallops…how to buy fresh scallops
When researching provencal sauces I found so many varieties and it was honestly hard to pinpoint what a true provencal sauce really is. There seem to be two camps. One calls it a tomato based sauce. And another says it is a sauce based around herbes de Provence (a blend of marjoram, savory, fennel, basil, thyme and sage). That is why I have called this my “ish” sauce. I am sure someone will come along and harangue me for misuse of the definition. They would also probably harangue me for use of the word harangue. Haters. My version is a fresh tomato based sauce. The great thing is that you can tweak it to your own tastes adding or subtracting a number of ingredients. As with any dish, make it your own.
I would like to add that lately I have been doing a TON of research into the Paleo lifestyle. I am not going to use the word diet because as a Celiac that word leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. I’m not on a diet. I live a certain lifestyle in order to merely survive. I have come across Paleo in search of what I hope will be an answer to many issues that I am still having even while being gluten free. Constant bloating is at the top of my list and just not feeling 100%. I have read so many success stories of fellow sufferers whose lives have been transformed by this new way of eating. I will delve more into it in a separate post. I’m only mentioning it now because I had Paleo in mind when making this meal. It fits (I hope!) all of the guidelines and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything at all. In fact I feel like I’m being self-indulgent whenever I make this. It will be baby steps for me but with steps like this I think I can do it!
Here is the recipe…PLEASE tell me what you think and be nice enough to leave a comment. Good or bad, this is what it’s all about. I’m still learning after all.