Seared Scallops on Polenta with Asparagus

Clockwise from top: The Meatball Shop's Bolognese balls with pesto, braised collard greens, Spicy Pork Meatballs with spicy meat sauce, asparagus over polenta

When I ask friends about weekday dinner menus, I often hear one of three strategies:

  1. Throw some fish or chicken in a pan and microwave some veggies…
  2. Throw some fish or chicken on the Foreman grill and microwave some veggies…
  3. Take out.

Add in some nights of cereal, frozen pizza, and salads and I’m following the same formula.  This week’s meal satisfaction to effort ratio was especially favorable…

Top photo: Thursday’s dinner. Seared Day Boat scallops (sweet & sustainable) with polenta and asparagus. Time commitment: 10 minutes–a 4-minute sear, a 6-minute steam, and a 5-min quick-cooking polenta. Tip: get a partner to stir the polenta while you sear and steam.

Bottom photo: Saturday’s dinner. Take out from The Meatball Shop (Stanton and Allen). Includes the weekly special Bolognese balls in a pesto sauce, and spicy pork balls in a spicy meat sauce, and a side of braised collard greens. Added leftover polenta and asparagus from Thurs. Time commitment: about 2 minutes in the microwave. Tip: Be prepared for a really heavy plate and, quite possibly, more leftovers.


Second Wind Linguine

April 7, 2010

Linguine with Gulf shrimp, Asparagus and Basil

As they say on Broadway, the Fridge and Tunnel show has ‘gone dark’ these last few weeks. Turns out, at 29 weeks pregnant, I needed a vacation! But Mama’s back in Brooklyn and back in business.

So I call this dish, Second Wind Linguine. A well-rested chef is a recipe for inspiration, or at the very least, motivation to cook at home again. I thought I’d focus on one stand-out ingredient and chose fresh Colossal Gulf shrimp. So colossal in fact that I halved them lengthwise (a great trick when you need the appearance of 1# of shrimp with a 1/2# budget. Just sharpen your knife first).

I saved the shrimp shells–don’t pay extra for shelled shrimp–and sauteed the shells in olive oil to begin my saute. This is a great tip for developing deep seafood flavor without the time commitment of making stock. Simply remove the whole shells once they are crispy and you are left with a flavored olive oil. Working 2 pots at the same time, you will have dinner ready in about 15 minutes–enjoy!

Second Wind Linguine with shrimp, asparagus and basil

  • 1/2 lb fresh Colossal Gulf shrimp, shells reserved, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 # dried linguine pasta
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, top 2″ cut into pieces (reserve stems for another use)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (try a Pinot Grigio)
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 7-8 large basil leaves, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil for linguine. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add shrimp shells and saute until crispy, 4-5 minutes; remove shells with tongs. Begin cooking pasta to al dente.
  2. Add garlic to saute pan and cook 2 minutes over medium-low heat, do not brown. Add asparagus and saute 30 seconds; season. Add wine and cover pan; cook 2 minutes. Uncover pan and add shrimp; cook until just curled and opaque, 1-2 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted into the pan juices. Remove from heat.
  3. Drain pasta and add to pan along with 3/4 of the basil. Toss with tongs to coat. Garnish with remaining basil.