Our usual routine is to go shopping at Costco on Sunday mornings, where I usually buy some sort of fresh fish/seafood for that evening’s dinner. Since I don’t know ahead of time what’s going to look good, I usually don’t have any specific recipe in mind.
This morning, what caught my eye was the sea scallops.
On the drive home, the Pontiff* asked me what I was going to make with them. I told him I had no idea, which was totally true. My usual plan of attack is to see what I have on hand, and then plug a few key ingredients into Google and see what I come up with for recipe ideas. I figured that since I had some eggplant and tomatoes in the garden, I’d probably do something with those.
I joked that since we also bought some strawberries, I could probably search for scallops and strawberries and come up with some recipes. (And sure enough, I did – here’s one or two that sound interesting.)
But what I ended up making was this recipe for Bay Scallop Eggplant Parmesan. There were actually several recipes using scallops and eggplant that sounded interesting, but I was missing a few key ingredients for most of them. For this one, the only thing I didn’t have on hand was shallots. No problem – I just substituted some garlic chives out of the garden.
I did have to make some slight modifications, since I only had a smallish-sized globe eggplant (I have several Japanese eggplants, but those are too skinny for this recipe), and because I was using sea scallops instead of bay scallops. The recipe calls for stacking a slice of eggplant, then the scallops, sauce, and cheese – then repeating the layers. Since I didn’t have enough eggplant and I had the larger scallops, I just used one layer. I also dusted the scallops with a bit of flour before cooking them, so that they’d have a nice seared crust. But otherwise, I made it as indicated in the recipe.
I could tell while I was making it that this was going to be a winner. And it was! I’ll definitely make it again. Some day.
I remember hearing once that most people make the same 10 or 12 recipes 80 percent of the time. That’s definitely not true in my household. Sure, there are a few recipes that I make repeatedly – but even then, I often make slight variations. Most of the time, I wing it and make something out of whatever’s on hand, often using the Internet to find a basic recipe. The good thing is that I get a lot of variety. The bad thing is that even when I find something really good, we might not ever have it again. But that’s part of the adventure of cooking, and one of the great things about the Internet.
For the wine, I used one of my favorites – Louis Latour Chardonnay. I’m not a big Chardonnay drinker, especially if it’s oaked. But this is a nice old-world, unoaked wine that’s a decent value – under $15. What didn’t go into the recipe went into our wine glasses for dinner. And it was an excellent accompaniment.
The tomatoes, eggplant, oregano, parsley and garlic chives were all from my garden. The saffron might have been too, if I’d been able to find those darn saffron crocus bulbs last year. I saw them at the farmer’s market a couple of years ago, but I haven’t seen them since. I may have to order some.
At any rate, if you like eggplant and scallops, you might want to give this recipe a try.
*”The Pontiff” is a nickname my husband’s oldest brother gave him when they were kids. I always think it’s funny when our nephew calls him “Uncle Pontiff”.