Happy New Year! Seared scallops with garlicky pasta was Mary Jo and my New Year’s Day dinner. Really easy but altogether delicious! And I got to break in my new Lodge carbon steel skillet. Merry Christmas from Mary Jo!
And bacon. Scallops are always great with bacon. And the pasta garlic sauce is so easy. This combination of flavors is something you should have a few times a year, because:
- It tastes so good
- It is a little bit decedent
- It takes minutes to prepare
- Scallops are always special
Clink!! And a good wine pairs so well.
Lodge carbon steel skillet
This was truly the first time that I used my new skillet. I fried the bacon pieces and then poured out most of the bacon grease and then seared the salted and peppered scallops on medium high heat. The pan seared the scallops nicely, but there was a slight build up of brown bits from the bacon which made the scallops stick a little. I had imagined that the pan would be pretty much non-stick but this was not the case. I finished up the scallops, and they were wonderful. The pan was pretty easy to clean…just a little hot water and a small amount of soap cleaned it up. I was still wondering why the pan was not really so non-stick as I had expected. My carbon steel pan, that was factory seasoned, had a rough texture. After some internet searching, I discovered that it was probably caused by the finishing process that Lodge does on these pans. I’m pretty sure with use that this would smooth itself out. I’m not one to wait! I figured that with a little work, I could make this pan swirl fried eggs!
Enter the DIY’er with power tools!
I figured, if the surface was a little rough, I could sand this sucker down, then re-season it and my eggs will slide! I guess that is my ultimate test of non-stickability.
Well here ya’ go…
The pan comes pre-seasoned and is pretty black and a little rough. I used a DA, (dual action) sander, with 60 grit paper on the bottom of the pan. This sander, with that grit, is pretty tame when it comes to steel. I used a couple sanding discs and took about 20 minutes sanding with the 60 grit. The surface was void of the black seasoning that it had.
I then switched to 120 grit paper and sanded for another 10 minutes. This left the pan pretty shiny.
I immediately took the pan inside and cleaned it up, sprayed on some canola oil spray and cracked an egg. The ultimate test! I got the pan to about 250°, laid the egg in and waited. As the pan continued to heat up, the egg started simmering. And I waited. When I thought that the time was right, I nudged the egg with my silicone spatula. It moved. And it slid. I grabbed the handle and moved back and forth. And the egg moved back and forth. I have achieved non-stick! But…then I tried to pour the fried egg out of the pan. You know, no spatula, just pour it out onto a plate! It stuck on the side! I didn’t sand the sides of the pan, just the bottom.
I had to go back outside and after another half hour, the sides were sanded.
So after all of this, the pan had to be seasoned again. To season a steel or cast iron pan, start with flaxseed oil. It has a low smoke point and contains a lot of omega 3 fats which break down chemically when heated and adhere to the steel. Go to a health food store, they will probably have it. I got it from GNC. Put a few drops of oil in the cool pan and use a paper towel to wipe it all around. You want a VERY thin coating of oil because if it’s too thick, it will just turn gummy instead of slick. Heat the pan slowly and try to keep all surfaces of the pan heating up. This is kind of hard with an electric stove, as the elements heat pretty unevenly. The oil will start to discolor the pan as the heat is increased. Move the pan around to heat different parts of it. With my laser thermometer, the oil really started to smoke at 425°. Remove from the heat when most of the surface is brown/black, (the temperature and subsequently, the browning will vary). Let the pan cool to the touch and reapply the oil again. Slowly heat up the skillet again to continue the browning. Let cool and then do at least 1 more application of oil. There are some websites that suggest doing it up to 11 times. Your call.
Finally, turn on your oven to 425°, place the pan in there until it reaches around 500°, or when your smoke alarm goes off, whichever occurs first. The pan will heat up faster than the oven, so keep an eye on it. The bottom right photo above is the pan as I take it out if the oven…after I figured out how to silence the smoke alarm! Pretty well seasoned.
Then it was back to the fried egg test. I sprayed the skillet with cooking spray and broke two eggs. This time the eggs slid around nicely in the pan. Mission accomplished.
Dang…I almost forgot about the scallops! And the wine.
My daughter Josie is the Assistant Winemaker at Chankaska Wines in Kasota, Minnesota. She has started to make sparkling wines, in the traditional French method for the winery, and also has a label of her own. It is Dew Drop. Her first sparkling wine is a 100% Minnesota Marquette grape, fermented on the skins to make a nice dark rose’ sparkling wine. It has marvelous bubbliness and was a real treat with our meal. Thanks for the wine Josie!
To sear the scallops, I left a little bacon grease in the pan and brought the temperature up to smoking. I seared the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes per side. These were relatively small sea scallops. Larger ones may take an extra half minute to cook through. The garlic sauce I made was a variation of my old post Creamy Garlic Sauce, without the cream.
Turned out to be a simple, but elegant meal. Perfect for new year’s day.
Here’s to a prosperous New Year!
Seared Scallops with Garlicky Pasta
- 12 to 14 sea scallops , rinsed and side muscle removed
- 3 slices bacon , chopped
- 7 oz . linguini pasta , cooked al dente per instructions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 large garlic cloves , minced
- 1 small shallot , minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley for garnish
- Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet until nicely browned, remove to a paper towel to drain the excess grease
- Remove most of the bacon grease from the skillet and bring the temperature of the pan to smoking
- Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, then salt and pepper them and place in the hot skillet, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
- Using tongs, turn the scallops and sear the second side 1 1/2 to 2 minutes
- Remove to a plate and keep warm
- In a separate skillet heat the olive oil on medium to medium low and add the garlic and shallot
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to soften without browning the garlic
- Add the wine and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil
- Check the flavor and add salt and pepper if desired
- Remove from the heat and mix in the cooked pasta
- Serve right away with scallops, bacon bits and parsley garnish.
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