Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sweet Scallops Are Just the Right Order

I'd been craving them for days. After work yesterday, I found them on sale. Plump, luscious, perfectly imperfect (because the truest circles are just plain wrong), the scallops were gently wrapped and handed over to me by the salesman who must have seen the appreciation and almost-lust-like look in my eyes. "Great price today!"

Awakened from my awe, I took the package, smiled widely and agreed.

I toured the store gathering other ingredients for the meal that I had been contemplating. At home, I tore into the bags of goodies like a child on her birthday, eager to lay hands on all the askded-for-and-of-course-got goodies.

Soon the cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and zucchini were roasting in the oven with a splash of balsamic, olive oil, and some rosemary for flavor. The couscous wouldn't take long but I wanted extra pine nuts so I toasted them. (Actually I toasted two batches because those suckers burn before you know it.) And in a saute pan, I placed onions and mushrooms. When they were tender, I removed them and crisped up some bacon. And finally in that same pan, I placed the scallops. Minutes later they were pretty much as I intended so I added in some wine, cherry tomatoes and the mushroom mixture.

The meal wasn't perfect -- should have seared the scallops better before focusing on the sauce -- but it was a pleasure.

Growing up in Greenfield and before shipping allowed you to get fresh California grapes and Florida oranges without having someone bring them back from vacation, we didn't see much seafood at Big John's (the grocery chain with the plastic giant holding two bags of products as the iconic statue that towers over the parking lot). If we wanted fish, Daddy and my brothers caught them in the river or a nearby pond. My mother loved shrimp and consequently Red Lobster in the city 45 minutes away. But she didn't like to peel them so we weren't always thrilled when Daddy got his hands on some frozen pink lovelies from Louisiana because it meant we had to remove the carcasses from both ours and hers.

Maybe the scarcity of the sea-bound delectibles (land-locked in Tennessee, remember?) became the allure for me. I don't know. But yesterday afternoon in the citified version of Big John's sans the parking lot guard, I practically giggled at the mere thought of the accessiblity of what I craved. Then as I lovingly cooked what I wanted and for me, I beamed.

Sometimes (and especially after a break up) taking yourself on a date is the best recipe.

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