If you stop at the grocery store on the way home tonight and pick up five things: a pound of tiny bay scallops, a lime, a bottle of white wine, organic chicken stock and a bunch of cilantro, you can put a steaming bowl of seafood on the table in half an hour after you walk in the door. Probably less.
There will be a lot of heavy eating this week, but this is a quiet palate cleanser of a meal, with clean, slightly astringent flavors and the simple comfort of a warm bowl of soup in your hands.
The bay scallop season begins in early November, so fresh sweet scallops shouldn't be hard to find. They get rubbery if you overcook them, so watch closely. After all, their short cooking time is what makes this dish so quick and easy! Make sure you get a drinkable white wine and polish off the rest of the bottle with dinner.
Scallops with Lime and Cilantro
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 pound sea scallops
Salt and pepper
In a small saucepan heat a little olive oil and cook the garlic until golden, then add the white wine and cook for a couple minutes, until slightly reduced. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Squeeze in the lime juice, add the cilantro, and taste and adjust seasoning. Keep warm while you cook the scallops.
Toss scallops in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Heat a heavy frying pan over high heat. When the pan is very, very hot, add the scallops and cook very quickly, shaking and stirring, until they are barely golden on the outside and warm within. This will take one to two minutes - no more.
Divide the scallops between two pasta bowls and pour the broth over them. This is good served over rice or linguine, too.