Saturday, December 6, 2008

Scallops and Squash?

I have already sung the praises of butternut squash, a winter vegetable that graces the tables of countless restaurants during the holidays. A few days ago I wanted to make a dinner for my sister and our friend Robin that would showcase my talents in the kitchen. I decided to recreate a dish I had several months ago at a French/New American restaurant in Los Angeles consisting of seared scallops with butternut squash, dried cranberries, and pistachio nuts. I know it sounds like a wild and wacky combination but it was really very good. The sweetness of the berries, the silky smooth flesh of the scallop, and the nutty flavor of the squash complimented each other perfectly though pairing it with wine was tricky. I made a variation of the dish with plump sea scallops from my fishmonger at Joon's Westside Fish Market, which has consistently fantastic fresh seafood. I peeled and diced the butternut squash into small uniform cubes and sautéed the pieces in olive oil until browned and crispy on all sides. I poached the scallops in more butter than I would like to admit and served them over the squash cubes. I topped the dish with a drizzle of sauce made with white wine, butter, and maple syrup to bring out the sweetness and butteriness of the scallops. The dish was a big hit and I made my sister very proud. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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