Feb 8, 2009

Vermicelli with Bay Scallops and Roasted Hazelnuts

V and her husband, G, came for dinner and I tossed together this easy and flavorful pasta dish. We were only four people but I purposely cooked the whole package of pasta in order to make lunches to take to work. I wasn't sure what kind of dishes I would make but I always come up with something.

In order to make the dish pictured above I used the following:

*Enough vermicelli for four. This will depend on how much pasta you all want. In some dishes, the pasta is the star and the meat or fish is just a compliment. But a conservative amount for four is 12-14 oz.
*5-6 garlic clove, chopped
*generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, almost half a cup
*1 cup hazelnuts, roasted and smashed
*1 1/2 pounds bay scallops, thawed and patted very dry
*salt and pepper to taste
*red pepper flakes
*large handful of flat-leaf Italian parsely, chopped
*grated parmesan cheese

Make sure your scallops are thawed. I thawed them in a strainer set over a bowl in the refrigerator. They stay in the refrigerater until a couple of minutes before I add them to the pan.

Fill your pasta cooking pot with lots of water, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, and a large pinch of salt and start heating it on high.

Roast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes. To remove the skins, while they are still hot wrap the hazelnuts in a clean dish towel, bundle it up and gently rub the contents all around in the towel to loosen the skins. A minute or so of this is enough. Open the towel, let the hazelnuts cool then pick them off the towel, leaving the skins behind. Once the hazelnuts are cool, I put them in a zipper sandwich bag, seal it, then gently crush the hazelnuts by rolling and pressing on the bag with anything heavy - a can of tomatoes, my mortar, the bottom of a frying pan, etc. I don't want meal but I want small pieces.

Chop the parsely and the garlic and set aside.

If the water is boiling and you are done with the hazelnuts, toss in the pasta and continue. Vermicelli and bay scallops are quick to cook so you don't want to be fiddling with something else when the time comes.

Into your largest, non-stick skillet goes a generous amount of olive oil. No skimping with this dish, please. The oil, when mixed with the juices from the scallops will make a great "sauce." Heat this on medium low. You just want to simmer the chopped garlic. Add the garlic to the oil and let it cook slowly. Again, a simmer. The garlic will talk to you but it won't sizzle. Take the scallops from the refrigerator and dump them onto paper towels and pat very dry.

Just as the garlic begins to show any color, check the pasta. If it's almost al dente, continue with cooking the scallops. If the pasta still has time to cook, take the garlic and oil off the heat. If coninuing, add the scallops to the pan and toss to combine. Add salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes. Remember how you patted those scallops dry? No matter how dry you think they are, they're not. A minute after being added to the pan, they will give off plenty of juice which equals plenty of flavor. The pasta should be close to done. You don't want the scallops to cook more than a couple of minutes, really.

Once the pasta is done I don't even bother to drain it. I reach in with tongs and pull out what I need, letting it drain over the pot then add it to the skillet. This way I can better judge the pasta to scallop ratio and only add as much pasta as I need. Toss everything together, sprinkle with parmesan, toasted hazelnuts and parsely and dish it up. With just a little bit of prep, you can have a fabulously delicious pasta dish.


Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks delicious. Scallops are such a tasty food!

vb said...

LOVE them! Easy to use and cook so fast. Thanks for visiting!

Anupam said...

The looking is very nice and easy.

vb said...

This WAS an easy dish. Cooks fast and tastes great.

manudas98 said...

The dish is delicious. Free Web Directory


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