All posts tagged seafood

Skip the Restaurant, Cook and Home: Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Published February 6, 2014 by jenmatteson

My girlfriend was coming over for dinner last Friday night.  She had originally suggested going out for seafood, but seeing as though I’m not working, I countered with cooking in.  I know, not quite as exciting (though, it can be with enough wine and Just Dance).  But I did splurge a little and get us some scallops, which was perfect, as I had this recipe waiting for use.  Unfortunately, she had some car trouble so she wasn’t able to make it.  Fortunately for Nate, that meant he got leftovers 😛  The scallops with the fennel was absolutely outstanding.  I amped it up slightly by serving them over a parsnip puree, and drizzled with truffle oil.  It wasn’t necessary by any means, but why not add a little luxury into our simple lives? Sorry the pictures are so gross – not very good lighting late and night, but this was too good not to share with you!

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Oh, and what the heck is a “grenobloise”?  It’s just a fancy French term for “sauce of brown butter, capers, parsley, and lemon”.  It makes for a much shorter recipe name: Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise vs. Scallops with Fennel, Brown Butter, Capers, Parsley and Lemon.  Yeah, I’ll take the first one.  But how do you pronounce it so you don’t sound like a dope?  You really can’t, but if you must try, here’s a little help: “grewn-o-blwahz”.  Seriously.

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

This is the second time I’ve made scallops at home, and they are so easy to make.  Don’t be scared to try!  A few key tips: 1) Make sure the scallops are very dry before placing in a hot pan.  I laid mine between paper towels in the fridge a few hours before I planned to make them.  2) Get your pan nice and hot.  3) Be patient and don’t move once you get them in the pan.  This will get that nice crisp sear on the outside while keeping the middle warm and opaque.  4) Don’t overcrowd your pan.  Placing the scallops too close together will steam them instead of searing them.  YOU DO NOT WANT THIS.  I promise, follow these tips, and you can’t screw them up.  The simple taste of the scallops paired great with the rich taste of the fennel.  Open a nice bottle of wine and make this for your honey this Valentine’s Day instead of braving the crowds and overpriced menus.

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb sea scallops
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. capers, drained
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley


1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over moderately high heat.  Season both sides of scallops with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes on each side (DO NOT move in the pan – this will allow them to sear properly).  Transfer to platter and keep warm.

2. Melt butter in same skillet.  Add fennel and capers and cook over high heat, stirring until the fennel is crisp-tender and lightly golden, about 2 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon fennel around the scallops and garnish with chopped fennel fronds, serve with lemon wedges.

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

Published September 19, 2013 by jenmatteson

How many daily emails do you get?  How many do you get that you just erase before even opening, either because you know what it is and you don’t want it, or because you don’t even care what it is?  I don’t remember when I signed up for daily emails from Food and Wine, but I started getting them a few weeks ago.  BIG MISTAKE.  Not because I’m not interested, and not because I don’t want to see what’s in it.  Just the opposite.  They send daily recipes, in which most sound absolutely amazing.

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

This one was no different.  A few great things about this recipe.  One: Crab.  YUM.  Two: Ravioli, without the hassle of making homemade pasta (I will do this some day…soon hopefully).  Three: No cheese.  Okay, for some (pretty much all) of you, this might sound like a not-so-great-thing, but it was wonderful for me, and still tasted rich, creamy and decadent.

I loved this recipe, though Nate thought it was too rich.  While it is creamy, the crab paired with the tarragon and shallots gives a very fresh, bright flavor.  The recipe says it makes 8 servings, but I got 16 ravioli out of this recipe, so it’s more like 4.  Maybe my wonton wrappers were larger, or I just filled them twice as much.  My grocery store didn’t have clam broth, so I bought seafood stock instead.  I know it’s not the same, but figured it couldn’t be too different.  I also used half-and-half instead of heavy cream for both the filling and the sauce.  In the sauce, I added just a touch of arrowroot (cornstarch would work just as well) to thicken it a bit.  Everything was melded very well and I really loved this recipe.  I would make it for company, but only when Nate wasn’t there since he didn’t care for it as much.

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

Crab Ravioli with Shallot Cream

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4


For crab filling:
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 lb lump crab meat, picked over
1 large scallion, only white part, minced
1 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and white pepper (black is fine if you don’t have white, white just looks better)
32 wonton wrappers

For shallot cream:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup clam broth
1/2 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced
salt and white pepper (again, black pepper would be fine here)


1. Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add half-and-half and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Fold in crab meat, scallion, tarragon and mustard.  Season with salt and pepper.

2. On a work surface, lay out 4 wonton wrappers and lightly brush with water.  Scoop about 2 tbsp of crab filling into the middle of each, and top with another wonton wrapper.  Push out any air pockets and firmly press edges of wonton wrappers together.  Trim excess dough with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, round or fluted edge (I don’t have a biscuit cutter, so I trimmed the edges – unevenly – with a pizza cutter).  Transfer to baking sheet in single layer and repeat with remaining filling and wonton wrappers.

3. In a deep skillet, heat olive oil over low heat.  Add shallot and cook until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.  Add half-and-half, clam broth and arrowroot or cornstarch, bring to a boil over high heat.  Once thickened slightly, remove from heat and whisk in mustard and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

4. Cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Ravioli will float to top when they are done, about three minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and add to shallot cream sauce.  Toss gently over low heat and serve immediately.  Garnish with more parsley or chopped chives.

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Published February 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

Nate loves scallops. Whenever we go out to eat, and there are scallops on the menu, there is a 95% chance that is what he’s ordering. I find it adorable that he sometimes confuses scallops with scallions. Easy mistake when reading it on a menu – not like he looks at green onions and thinks they are scallops. If that were the case, I might be worried.

Simple ingredients make the best dishesScallops









Anyway, today is his birthday, so I wanted to make something special for him. I was really hoping I didn’t screw anything up, because wouldn’t that be a crappy birthday present? Even if I did, I would hope he would have been satisfied with his birthday weekend. We had a fabulous dinner at the Capital Grille in Minneapolis on Friday night. I am not kidding you – this was the best steak I have ever had. They were cooked absolutely perfectly, and the rubs they use are to die for! For dessert, he got the creme brulee and I ordered the flourless chocolate cake. My goodness, it was so delicious! On top of that, we had superb service. It’s too bad we waited for so long to try this place, but it was well worth the price tag! If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.


Another reason he should be satisfied for his birthday (even if I did screw up the scallops), is that I got him a smoker. He’s been talking about this since we moved in. Nate doesn’t do a lot of cooking, though he does most of the grilling. Not that he’s incapable, but he just doesn’t do it. For this reason, I’ve put off indulging his fascination with a smoker. But, I found one that was a smoker and roaster, which my brother said was highly recommended by his customers, so I went with that one. Plus, bonus, it was in my budget. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning opening it up.


In case you are wondering why my pictures have a green tinge…it’s because I have a green case on my phone, and when I use my flash, it reflects off the side – I just realized this last night.  Duh.

Searing the scallops

Tarragon Butter Sauce









But, let’s get back on track. The scallops. I found this recipe on Food and Wine – my trusty standby for classic recipes. Nate and I both like tarragon, though it’s certainly a flavor that people generally hate or love. We are the latter! I served them over a bed of wilted spinach, with just a bit of lemon juice. I always seem to underestimate spinach – so much turns into so little! Either way, it was yummy. Surprisingly, I did a pretty good job on the scallops. I probably could have seared them for one minute more, but I was following the recipe and was more worried about over cooking them. My guess is that my pan wasn’t quite hot enough. They still had a nice color to them, and they tasted amazing. The pics aren’t too great, as I took the pictures around 6 PM, when it’s already dark out 😦

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Nate said they just melted in his mouth. The tarragon butter sauce was the perfect complement. I thought the tarragon might be a little to overpowering for the delicate scallops, but they actually complimented each other perfectly. I now will not be so terrified to make scallops again – though I doubt I’ll make them often seeing as though they were $22/lb 😮 Another bonus, one more thing checked off my 30 before 30 list!

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 4


2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp butter
1 lb sea scallops, dried well
1 tsp salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 bunch fresh spinach
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup dry white wine
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon


1. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil with 1/2 tbsp of butter over moderate heat. Season scallops with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Put half the scallops in the pan. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on second side and just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil with 1/2 tbsp butter in pan and cook remaining scallops. Remove and place on paper towel.

2. Reduce heat to low, and add spinach to pan. Turn several times to coat in pan juices. Add lemon juice, and quickly remove from pan as soon as leaves have wilted. Divide spinach on plates and place scallops on top of spinach.

3. Wipe out pan. Return pan to moderate-low heat and add wine. Boil until reduced to about 2 tbsp, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to lowest setting. Whisk the remaining 4 tbsp butter into the wine. The butter should not melt completely, but just soften to form a smooth sauce. Add remaining 1/2 salt, lemon zest and tarragon. Pour over scallops and serve.

The best picture of course is the one where Charlotte thinks this is her plate.

Charlotte trying to snipe my dinner - but a great shot of the scallops in the top right corner!

Crabby Patties

Published April 30, 2012 by jenmatteson

I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like Sponge Bob Square Pants (okay, I only know like one kid, which is my awesome nephew, Carter, and I suppose his sister, Grace, but she’s too young to like Sponge Bob yet), and if you don’t know, he makes crabby patties.  I can only assume these are wonderful crab cakes!

The reason I made these in the first place was because another Nestie and I were unable to participate in a recipe swap because we didn’t have enough posts in our blogs yet.  We decided to do our own private swap.  Basically, a swap is trying recipes of another blogger, and in this case, we just did a general swap, where we could make anything we wanted from their blog.  I love crab cakes, so immediately these stood out to me.

I made a handful of substitutions, but kept with the basic recipe.  I also added a chipotle mayo for topping, which was amazing and will be great with many other dishes, even on sandwiches!  They were a little wet for my taste (which made them difficult to handle), so I altered the recipe I’m sharing to have less Miracle Whip and a few more crackers.  The result was pure awesomeness, and the chipotle mayo just pushed it over the edge!  They were pretty big patties, so if I made them again, I’d probably make them half the size – and then eat two 😉

Crab Cakes with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Source: Just Prepare It Deliciously
Servings: 10


4 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cayanne pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
5 oz buttery crackers (I used Ritz), crushed
12 oz crab meat
olive oil
1 cup panko bread crumbs


1. In a medium bowl, mix onions, cilantro, lemon juice, cayanne pepper, dry mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, and Miracle Whip.  Fold in crab meat and add buttery crackers to mixture.

2. Form mixture into 1/2-inch thick patties, this mixture should make about 6 total.  Refrigerate patties for 30 minutes.

3. Heat olive oil over high heat in a large frying pan.  Meanwhile, dredge each side of the patties in the panko bread crumbs.  Fry patties until they turn golden brown and begin to form a crispy crust, about 4-5 minutes on each side.  Serve with Chipolte Mayonnaise.

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