Finally, we get to the dish that is particularly well-suited for a sneaky Valentine’s day. This is as simple, fast, and foolproof as cooking gets, and while I for one am not a fan of Angel Hair pasta -- it’s virtually impossible to get it cooked properly, tending towards the overcooked side of paste on many occasions -- on this date I might make an exception.
Nantucket Bay Scallops
Tender Morsels of Seafood Love
Linguine with Bay Scallops, Fennel, and Tomatoes
I like this recipe, with one modification. The instructions to “Add scallops and sauté until just opaque in center” is not ideal since you’ll be cutting open scallops while cooking to find that point, at which point every other scallop in your saute pan will now be on it’s way toward being over-cooked, and then you compound the problem by reserving the cooked scallops and letting carry over cooking taking them over to the dark side. No, this is not the way to make this dish! Go ahead, use angel hair pasta, do all the other steps, but save the scallops until the last step. Add them to the saute pan and give them a few tosses before adding the pasta. Finish up the recipe, it should take about a minute, by which point the scallops should be mostly cooked, and while you’re plating the dish the scallops will continue to cook, stealing some heat from the angel hair while they’re at it. Result? Perfectly cooked scallops and pasta that might still have a little bit left!
With such a light, simple dish, look for something fresh as a sea breeze. A nice vermentino from Sardinia or Tuscany has that squeeze of lemon freshness. Herbal nuances along with a hint of seashell will add brightness and snap to the sweet fennel and pernod inflected flavors of this dish.