Last weekend my daughter and I decided to go vegetable picking. There are a number of farms around the city that allow you to pick your own fresh fruit and vegetables as they come into season.
This is one way that you can be sure that you are eating locally and that you are supporting your local farmers. For many years I picked strawberries and made homemade jam. I had never tried picking fresh peas, until this year.
It was not difficult; you just look for pods that are fat and ripe. Those are the ones that are holding lovely, plump, sweet peas. I tasted them fresh from the vine and they were so sweet and delicious I could hardly wait to make something exciting with them.
Another thing that I had never tried was cooking scallops. For some reason cooking seafood is intimidating to me. I think my Scottish meat and potatoes upbringing is to blame for this. My mother never cooked fish when I was a child.
Nevertheless, I am determined to learn how to cook all sorts of foods so I dug out this recipe from my new Curtis Stone cookbook, What’s for Dinner? and followed it exactly. I figured that if it did not turn out well, I could blame the recipe.
I am happy to say that the sweet peas, bacon and mint perfectly complimented the scallops. The cooking instructions were very clear and my scallops were a hit. It is a great feeling when you take on a new challenge and achieve success.
This cookbook is worth a look. It has terrific selection of recipes that are organized by the days of the week. Chapter titles like Motivating Mondays, Thrifty Thursdays, and Five-Ingredient Fridays list meals that will inspire you to cook, no matter how busy you week gets.
There are 286 pages filled with mouth watering recipes and wonderful photos. I was once told that a good benchmark for buying a cookbook is if you can count at least 10 recipes in it that you want to make. I am sure that there are more than ten recipes from this book in my future.
I would love to hear from you about what foods you love to cook fresh from the farm.
Makes 4 servings
2 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas (from 2 pounds peas in the pods)
3 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ¼ inch strips
½ cup coarsely chopped shallots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 large sea scallops, tough side muscle removed and patted dry
2 tbsp. olive oil
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook for about 2 minutes, or just until they are bright green and tender. Drain and transfer the peas to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the skillet.
Add the shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes or until softened. Add the peas and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, or until they are heated through. Stir in the bacon and mint. Season to taste, with salt and pepper. Keep warm over very low heat.
Meanwhile, season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat another large heavy skillet over high heat until it is very hot. Add the olive oil, then add the scallops and cook for about 2 minutes more, or until the other side is golden brown but the scallops are still translucent when pierced in the center with the tip of a small knife. Transfer the scallops to paper towels to drain briefly.
Divide the pea mixture and scallops among four dinner plates and serve.
Recipe adapted from What’s for Dinner? by Curtis Stone