The following originally appeared on 2/23/09 at Exit 51.
Table For Two
From the looks of my blog stats, we all had the same idea about making a special Valentine’s Day dinner. Those scallops from Jacques Pepin got even more traffic than usual on the 14th. Luckily, that is a recipe that you can pull together at the last minute. And from the look of Wegman’s Saturday afternoon, there was a lot of last minute happening. Even I was not immune to lastminuteitis and found myself standing at the seafood counter for scallops. But I had another, equally easy, recipe in mind for them…no offense to Jacques, of course.
Valentine’s Day was brought to us courtesy of Gourmet Magazine and Mark Bittman. And while it would have been way cooler if someone from Gourmet, or Mr. Bittman himself, had shown up on my doorstep and done the cooking for me, I think I did a pretty good job following their instructions. Because really, the instructions were as easy as 1,2,3. I know I say that a lot, but it’s only because those are the kinds of recipes I love the best.
Our table for two Valentine’s Dinner featured Paprika Dusted Scallops with Pea Puree topped off with a Chocolate Souffle. Sounds pretty daunting doesn’t it? Let me tell you, the key to this meal is working backwards and preparing the souffle to the point where it is ready to go into the oven BEFORE you start the scallops. Bittman’s recipe is a lifesaver here because it can go from fridge to oven to table. Executing this menu is nothing more than a dance. One, two, cha, cha, cha. And even those of us with two left feet can get the steps right.
So start off by getting the souffle together and have it chill out in the fridge. Then move onto the pea puree. Once this is all blitzed together in the food processor, it can stay there till the scallops are done and you’re ready to plate. Preheat your oven for the souffle and start on the scallops. In the time it takes the scallops to cook, your oven will be ready and the souffle can go in just as you sit down to eat. Thirty minutes later, your dinner plate will be empty but your dessert plate will be piled high with warm chocolate love.
Enjoy it while it’s hot. The dishes can wait till morning.