So here’s the deal. It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find fresh seafood in Colorado. Actually, I take that back. You can of course find fresh seafood, but you will have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Unless it comes from a nearby lake or maybe, perhaps a surplus of fish from the Pacific Northwest. In the end, you are most likely out of luck. I originally wanted to make this dish with a poached lobster, but since that was completely out of the question, we went with scallops instead…bay scallops to be exact. I know that sea scallops are all the rave. They are larger, juicy and totally scrumptious, but I often find that bay scallops totally get looked over. If cooked right, they have this perfect subtle sweetness. These little bite-sized morsels were the perfect addition to this pasta dish and they didn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy either!
So bay scallops can be bought fresh or frozen. I know that “frozen” scares a lot of people. It scares me most of the time too, but when you live in an area like we do, sometimes it’s hard to find the fresh stuff. As long as the meat or fish is clean and comes from a good place, I don’t see the problem in using it. If you’ve never tried them, I suggest doing so. They are smaller, but in my opinion they are extremely delicious. Just toss them in a little melted butter and season with salt and pepper. They are the perfect addition to many of your favorite pasta dishes. I promise.
Brown butter is usually our go to when we aren’t too sure what to mix with our pasta and we aren’t up for a red sauce. I love brown butter. Who would have thought brown butter could taste so differently then the “raw” stuff? Today we decided to infuse some herbs into the mix. I didn’t want the chewy texture of sage in every bite of my pasta, so we decided to cook them in whole sprig form while the butter was browning. It really is the perfect way to infuse some great flavor into your sauces. Sage is so incredibly powerful, that in the end you will feel like you never actually took the sprigs out in the end. Thyme and rosemary on the other hand, were kind of an afterthought. I wanted some other herby flavors going on in the sauce, so at the very end of the browning process an addition of another herb or two couldn’t hurt.
So the thing with browning butter is that it can go from incredible to horrible in a matter of seconds. You really have to keep an eye on it. Some say that it’s ok to melt over a medium heat. I do not think this should ever be the case. If you’re scared of it burning, I would certainly suggest cooking over a low to medium-low heat. That way you can keep a closer eye on it. This butter can literally go from brown to burnt in seconds, so be very very very careful! It’s worth the pain and labor. Trust me, and in the end it’s really not all that difficult to make.
You totally need a beer that’s “winey” and “barrel-aged” for this pairing. Wine and pasta go hand in hand, and lighter pasta dishes go perfect with white wines. That’s why when we were deciding what to pair this with we decided to go with Avery Brewing’s Barrel-Aged Wild Ale: Muscat d’Amour. Yes, it is certainly wild, but it is insanely delicious! You get those subtle hints of Muscat Blanc grapes and because this beer is aged 14 months in chardonnay barrels, you can see why I wanted to pair this dish with this beer. Also, seafood goes very well with chardonnay. Are you understanding what I’m saying? A total match made in heaven. Any other barrel-aged beer will do for this food and beer pairing. Try to find something that has been aged in a white wine barrel. You will definitely notice a huge difference.
Well this week flew by don’t you think?! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday. I guess it’s back to the unpacking. No, we are still not done unpacking. Why do you ask? At this point, I feel like we will never be done!
- 1 lb linguine pasta
- salt and pepper
- 2/3 lb bay scallops, frozen or fresh, pat dry if extra wet
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon
- 3 sprigs of sage, whole
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, removed from stem and finely minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, removed from stem and finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan reggiano cheese, finely grated
- Fill a 5 quart stock with water, season with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the linguine and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Remove from heat and strain through a colander. Set aside.
- While your water is coming to a boil and your pasta is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the scallops and season with salt and pepper. You may see a bit of water being released from the scallops. This is ok. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until cooked through, but not over done. Remove from heat and set aside.
- At the same time, prepare your brown butter sauce. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat in a 2 inch deep saute pan and season with a dash of salt. Once melted, add in the sprigs of sage, whole. After about 4-5 minutes. Add the thyme, rosemary and nutmeg. At this point your butter should begin to darken and brown. It is finished when a nutty aroma fills the air. Be careful, the butter can go from brown to burnt in a matter of seconds. Remove from heat and remove the sage sprigs. Stir in the heavy cream. The mixture will continue to cook slightly. Add the scallops into the sauce to coat, then add the pasta. Toss lightly and then mix with the parmesan reggiano cheese, saving about a teaspoon for garnish.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Hardware: * Stock Pot * Small Skillet * Saute Pan * Wooden Spoons * Paper Towels (for patting scallops dry) * Measuring Cups * Measuring Spoons * Colander * Cheese Grater