Okay, three weeks into January, and I think I have reversed most of the effects of holiday merry making and gluttony.
It seems I only last a few weeks any time of the year, and I have a yearning to entertain.
Lately though, it seems that not just our calendars, but the stars must also be aligned to get together with good friends.
Well this past weekend all forces worked in our favor.
Two other couples and us, six is a nice group.
Both fabulous cooks.
In the past, I would get rather nervous entertaining accomplished cooks.
A while ago I saw a interview of a celebrity chef, who said “no matter your culinary expertise everyone loves to be cooked for”.
Who doesn’t love to be invited to linger over a good meal, great wine , and interesting conversation?
Okay that said, I needed to make something easy.
I didn’t want to be fretting over a hot stove wondering if dinner would be a success.
So before the doorbell even rang.
The big long farmhouse table in the kitchen was set.
I had the lettuces ready and set aside.
The lentil salad finished , simple to quickly warm.
That just left cooking the scallops.
Nothing could be easier.
We put out some good olives and nuts to pair with cocktails.
Then moved on to the perfectly seared scallops nestled on a earthy lentil salad, perched over lemony lambs lettuce and watercress.
Followed that with a nice cheese plate.
Another reason to linger at the table, with more wine.
And really, who doesn’t love an assortment of gooey, salty and savory cheeses.
Dinner was kind of healthy, right?
Finally some ripe berries and dark chocolate.
Maybe I should do this every weekend…………
- 1lb package lentils, or 2 14oz canned lentils
- 5-6 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 red pepper, diced very small, approx size of cooked lentils
- 1/2 fennel bulb, diced very small as well
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 prewashed container of lambs lettuce
- 1 big bunch of watercress
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 large scallops per person
- sprinkle of kosher salt and some pepper
- zest of 1/2 lemon
In medium pot cook lentils according to package directions then set aside, or open and drain from can.
In large skillet over med heat add olive oil, shallots and salt and pepper, cooking covered over low heat until soft approx.8-10 mins.
Then increase heat to med-high and continue to cook stirring often until shallots are a warm carmel color, approx 4-5 mins more.
Add garlic to shallots and cook another 30 seconds.
Add cooked lentils to skillet, stir well to incorporate carmalized shallots.
Over low now add red pepper and fennel and warm while preparing scallops.
Rinse and pat dry scallops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place large skillet over high heat. When very hot add scallops.
Cook without moving around for 2-3 mins per side.
Will be nicely brown and crispy.
Sprinkle with lemon zest and bit more kosher salt.
In the meantime place lettuces in large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss with lettuces.
Place a handful of lettuce on plate, add 1/2-1 cup lentil salad, top with seared scallops and a nice sprinkle of chopped parsley.