Friday, April 24, 2009

Scallops, Portuguese Style

     Long ago in Puyallup, Washington
It seems that when we lived in Washington state, we were always having some memorable seafood meal--I especially remember the clams, oysters, salmon, and yes, the scallops. Alas, we are now very far from fresh fish (except the ubiquitous catfish, ugh) and other seafood. When we travel to either coast we always order some when eating out.

Here is one of the dishes I remember best. I picture the kids in their preteen years back in our little Craftsman cottage, eating around the table, with the dining room windows looking out over the sheep field. 

1 pound (1 pt.) fresh bay scallops (the little kind)
  or frozen scallops, thoroughly defrosted
8 tbl. butter, cut into 1/2 inch bits
1 cup flour
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
3 tbl. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Wash the scallops quickly under cold running water, then spread them in one layer on a cookie sheet covered with a linen towel. Drape a second towel over the scallops and place them in the refrigerator for about 4 hours to drain thoroughly. 

In a small heavy saucepan or skillet melt the butter over low heat, turning the bits about with a wooden spoon to melt them slowly and completely without letting the butter brown. Remove the pan from the heat and let the butter rest for a minute. Then skim off the foam from the surface and discard it. 

Tipping the pan at a slight angle, spoon the clear butter on top into a heavy 12-inch skillet (preferably non-stick). Leave behind all the milky solids that will have settled to the bottom of the smaller pan. 

Place the flour in a large bowl and drop the scallops into it. With a slotted spoon or your fingers toss the scallops about gently until they are coated on all sides with the flour. Then turn them out into a sieve and shake them vigorously to remove the excess flour. 

Warm the clear butter in the skillet over high heat for 10 seconds. Add the scallops and, sliding the pan back and forth to turn them about, fry them for 2 or 3 minutes until they are firm but not brown. DO NOT OVERCOOK the scallops.

Add the chopped garlic and parsley to the skillet and slide the pan vigorously back and forth for about 30 seconds longer. 

Mound the scallops attractively on a heated platter, season with the salt and a few grindings of pepper, and serve at once. 

This recipe originally came from American Cooking: New England, part of the Time-Life series, Foods of the World.  

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