Scallops and Spicy Pasta

When I went to The Frog & Peach for a New Brunswick Patch review, I ordered their seared scallops, and fell in love with them. When I was a toddler, I used to eat scallops all the time, when I would eat anything and everything. A few years later, I went through a super picky phase, and stayed away from scallops far after that phase had ended.

I assumed preparing scallops was difficult, but after checking out a few different recipes online, I realized they only took a few minutes in some butter and oil over a medium-high heat. Unfortunately the only scallops that Wegmans had were gigantic, so instead of having a few little scallops, we had three huge scallops each. That’s right, we got about 6 huge scallops when we ordered a pound.

Deciding what to pair the scallops with was a no brainer – pasta. What exactly to put with the pasta, however, was a little more difficult. Eventually I decided on some garlic, shallots, and a soon-to-go-bad zucchini in a white wine butter sauce. The kick came from red pepper flakes, of course. I would definitely make this again, but maybe next time with smaller scallops.

Scallops and Spicy Pasta
– Serves 2 –

1 lb. sea scallops
5 oz. spaghetti
1 zucchini, diced
2 shallots, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil + 4 Tbsp
2 Tbsp butter
4 oz. white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter in a medium skillet. Season the scallops on either side with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once butter is melted, add scallops and sear on either side 2-3 minutes, making sure they don’t touch. 
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a separate skillet, and sauté zucchini, shallots, and garlic for 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and white wine, and allow to simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes.
4. Combine the pasta and sautéed vegetables with an additional Tbsp of butter. Serve with the scallops atop the pasta.

Jalapeño Crab Cakes with Slaw & Salsa

I just so happened to super crabby all week, so I thought, what a better way to end the week then with something involving crab meat?! I’ve actually had this particular recipe in my hands for about a year, but never got around to making them. Since I’ve had it for so long, I of course don’t remember where I found the recipe, but when Googling it, it did come up on Epicurious, so we’ll stick with that!

I’ve never really been a huge water-creature fan; eating, swimming with, smelling, etc. I know I grew up loving shrimp and scallops, but at about six or so I swore them off. I guess I had a few bad experiences, like my great-grandmother pointing out a vein in a shrimp to turn me off from all seafood. As I got older, though, I decided to venture back out and sampled some salmon, tuna, crab, and other similar seafoods. Realizing they had some health benefits, I decided I would keep shrimp out, but let everything else in.

Since I don’t really buy seafood that often, I forgot how expensive it is! A pound of crab meat was almost $20! Thankfully the rest of the ingredients were cheap, and I have left overs for tonight’s left-over-arama!

Making the crab cakes was easy; I was just petrified of cutting the jalapeños. When I was younger I played with a pepper in a neighbor’s yard and made the mistake of touching my face afterwards without washing my hands. Believe me, that will never happen again! But then when talking to my mom about the recipe, she told me just cutting the peppers burned her hands so badly she need to put them in ice water. So what did I do? I took two plastic sandwich bags and put them over my hands, and chopped away!

As you all know, I’m impatient, so quick recipes are favorites of mine. Each of the cakes only take about 8-10 minutes, depending on how large you make them. Because my pan only fit 2 at a time, I turned on my oven (only to 200 degrees) and put the cakes that were already done in the oven to keep them warm, while I worked on the others.

We weren’t sure what to have with the cakes aside from the slaw and salsa, so I just grabbed a bag of the steam-fresh redskin potatoes that Green Giant makes. They were okay – I wasn’t a huge fan of the butter sauce, but it worked well enough. It was a huge meal – two crab cakes with slaw, the potatoes, AND a salad?! I was stuffed, in a good way.

The cakes had just the right amount of spice from the jalapeños without being overpowering or not noticeable, and the panko bread crumbs added a really nice crunch. And instead of using a typical mayo-based remoulade to go with them, a nice medium-spiced salsa was perfect.

Jalapeño Crab Cakes with Slaw & Salsa
-Serves 4-

1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over, patted dry
1 1/3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeño chiles (I used one)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 cup canola oil or other vegetable oil
4 cups (about 6 ounces) coleslaw mix [I used Rainbow mix]
2/3 cup purchased salsa
1/3 cup sour cream
Lime wedges

1. Line rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Stir in eggs.
2. Using moist hands, shape mixture into 8 cakes, each about 3/4 inch thick. Arrange cakes on prepared sheet.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in each of 2 medium skillets over medium heat. Add 4 cakes to each. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
4. Mound slaw mix on 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 cakes. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges.

Happy nomzing!