Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finally, dinner for two!

I've been in non-stop rehearsals for the show "Children of Eden," so naturally I haven't been home for dinners for the last two months. Well, now that the show has opened, my evenings are opening up again; which means DINNER WITH KEVIN! Don't get me wrong, I love to perform and the show is just great (read about it in the below post)....but I do miss having dinners with my husband.

Since today was pretty much a lazy day, we lounged around the house for most of it....we decided to stay in and have dinner at home.

For my birthday, my mother in law bought me a great cookbook, "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics." I've always loved Ina Garten's show on the Food Network, so I never worry about any of her recipes. I looked in the fridge and freezer to see what we could make. Garlic cloves, check! Fresh green beans, check! Hmmmm....we have bay scallops....Why not scallops gratin served with oven roasted green beans? Sounds delish.

I must preface this by saying it can be hard at times to find fresh seafood like scallops and other shellfish here on Okinawa. I know, I know, we're an island! But.... unless you buy fresh seafood off base or at a fisherman's market, it's not readily available.

The base Commissary (both at Kadena and Foster) has probably about the worst fresh seafood around. Most of it is previously frozen....Ick.... There is one alternative that I've found and this is Coleson's Catch in the frozen food section. All of the seafood is flash frozen and then vacuum sealed. All you need to do is defrost it properly and voila....perfect seafood. Just make sure you look at the packaging before want to avoid any seafood that might look freezer burned. This means the vacuum seal is compromised.

Anyway, back to our dinner..... Ina Garten's recipe for Bay Scallops Gratin is as follows. I made a few changes to it:

Bay Scallops Gratin
makes 3 gratins (we didn't make individual gratins, I just used a shallow casserole dish)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced (We didn't add of those food items we can't get here on Okinawa...)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish (we didn't have any fresh, so I used dried parsley)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of Japanese panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of dry white wine (If you don't have any white wine, use a white lager beer....sounds strange, but actually it adds a nice flavor...)
1 pound of bay scallops (We used Coleson's Catch frozen scallops)
Lemon, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 3 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan. To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix until combined. With mixer on low, add the olive oil slowly as though making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside. Place 1 tablespoon of the wine (or beer in our case) in the bottom of each gratin dish. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and distribute them evenly among the 3 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want a crustier top, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes, until browned. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkling of parsley and serve immediately with crusty French bread.

In our case, we served the scallops with oven roasted green beans tossed in olive oil and fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. We served the scallops with some plain white rice....

Dinner was great and it was wonderful to be able to spend the night with my husband! Finally, dinner for two!

Bon appetit!

~Chrissy :)

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