Thyme for Scallops

Thyme is an herb I haven’t used very often, but I bought a bunch for use in another recipe and had some leftover.  So when I saw this ultra-quick recipe for scallops and thyme with farfalle (bowtie) pasta, I knew I wanted to try it for my Friday night dinner!

I realized in making this dish that I’ve never learned the proper art of searing (and it’s difficult to do without a gas stove).  The first time I followed the directions that said to heat the skillet to the point of smoking.  I ended up slightly burning the scallops and butter, and filling up my house with smoke – the whole dish had a bitter aftertaste.  So this time, I used a non-stick skillet and heated over medium high only. I probably need to keep working on finding a happy medium for the perfect sear, but the scallops were cooked through and still tender – so overall I think it was a success.

This recipe is definitely a keeper – very quick, it can all be done within the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  Deglazing the pan with wine has a nice effect, it combines with the butter to make a tangy sauce that lightly coats the pasta.  The recipe below is for one good-sized portion, if doubled it could probably serve three as an entree of a meal with appetizer and salad.

Scallops and Thyme
little less than 1/4 lb. dried pasta tagliatelle/farfalle/fettuccine/pappardelle
4-6 oz. scallops
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter
6 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters (or one Roma tomato, seeded and diced)
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp. white wine (plus a glass for the meal)

Start boiling the pasta. Cut scallops in half to make thinner discs. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and toss with oil to coat. Prepare all the remaining ingredients before starting to cook scallops.

Heat frying pan over high heat, then place oiled scallops evenly in pan. Leave to fry for a minute without disturbing (you’re trying to develop a good sear), then dot the butter between them. When the butter is well browned, sprinkle the tomatoes and thyme on top and shake gently to settle them between the scallops in the pan. Fry for half a minute more. Deglaze the pan with wine, shaking vigorously to make a sauce, and allow to reduce until slightly thickened. Drain the pasta while still al dente, then toss it into the sauce and serve promptly.

Adapted from: The Geometry of Pasta

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2 responses to “Thyme for Scallops

  1. I totally agree about the gas stove issue…

  2. My favorite use for thyme is a dish I had at Pop’s in Durham and now make regularly at home: mashed sweet potatoes with thyme and parmesan cheese (the real kind, not the stuff in a green can).

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