Friday, March 29, 2013

Seared Scallops with Creamy Avocado "Pasta"

I came across this recipe on Pinterest the other day, and it looked pretty good- except the original recipe calls for real pasta, of course.  Well, I decided to try it but substitute zucchini noodles instead of pasta (you could also use spaghetti squash or another pasta alternative).  For the protein, I wanted to make scallops.  I had just been talking about scallops with my mom the other day, and how they were so delicious but a bit expensive so I rarely splurged for them.  But when I was at Sam's Club and saw them, I decided to go for it.  They are the nice, big sea scallops that sear up all beautifully and taste amazing.  And no, they are NOT cheap, but of course cheaper than you would pay at a restaurant!  So this meal tasted delicious.  It was not the most filling of meals (it would be if you used real pasta), but it was refreshing and yummy.  Here is what I did:

Seared Scallops with Creamy Avocado "Pasta"
(serves 2)
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 T olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • sea salt & pepper
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves (about 5-10)
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • 1/2 lb sea scallops
  • 1 T olive oil (additional)
First, get the zucchini noodles ready.  Like I always do, I used my awesome vegetable peeler/julienner tool to make my thin noodle-like strips.  You could use a mandolin or just cut them super thin- either way is fine.  Toss the noodles with salt and let them sit in a colander over a bowl.  In about 15 minutes, "wring" out the noodles to get out the moisture, and they are ready.

To make the sauce, combine the avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper in a food processor.  Blend until smooth. Toss the noodles in the sauce when you are ready to serve.  (Make sure not to use too much- you don' want to drown them!)

For the scallops, pat them as dry as you can and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high to high heat and add the olive oil.  Once it is really hot, place the scallops in the pan.  Allow them to sear for about 4-5 minutes per side.  You want them to brown up!  Try your best not to move them around or else you will lose the sear.  It is hard to be patient but you want them to be nicely seared!  Serve them on top of your creamy "pasta" and garnish the whole thing with some lemon zest.

A few things: If you are using real pasta, the pasta will soak up the sauce a bit, so you can use more sauce.  With zucchini, it doesn't soak up the sauce so don't use too much.  You don't want the avocado flavor to be too powerful.  Also, if you serve it this way, the "pasta" will be room temperature.  If you want it hot, you can heat up the sauce in a skillet for a few minutes.  It will likely thicken and reduce if you do that, though.  Any way you do it, this meal will taste great and I am sure you will love it!  Restaurant quality, healthy, and made in your own home!

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