2 tablespoons of canola oil (I used olive oil instead)
4 tablespoons butter
3 cleaned scallops per person for an appetizer portion. 6 cleaned scallops per person for a main course (I used an entire 1 lb bag and boy did these guys shrink!)
1 clove garlic, smashed, cleaned, and finely minced (because I had more scallops and we love garlic, I upped this to 4 cloves)
Salt and pepper, to taste
You will need a sturdy cast iron skillet or equivalent. You want something with a heavy bottom that will evenly distribute the heat from your cooktop, and not have hot spots that might burn the scallops. Place the pan on a burner set on medium-high heat. Place the canola oil in the bottom of the pan with the butter. Mix together as the butter melts. Toss in the minced garlic and give the pan a stir. Let the oil heat up until it is hot, but not smoking. You can test the surface to see if it’s hot enough by carefully dropping a drop of water into the pan. If it sizzles and dances across the surface, the oil’s hot enough.
Using tongs, transfer the scallops to the prepared hot oil in the pan. Let brown for roughly 2 minutes, then turn to brown the other side. Remove cooked scallops from skillet onto warmed plates. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on a bed of Creamed Spinach with Olive Oil and Shallots (below).
Creamed Spinach with Olive Oil and Shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup shallots, finely minced
10–12 oz. fresh spinach, washed, dried, and trimmed to remove tough stems (I used frozen. Should have doubled this recipe. Wow, it was good!)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup liquid—milk, chicken broth, or white wine, depending on personal taste
1 pinch fresh ground nutmeg
¼–½ tablespoon salt, or to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Put olive oil in a sturdy cast iron skillet or equivalent over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add shallots, stirring until they are clear, about 1 minute. Add spinach, and continue stirring until mixture is heated through and reduced and wilted, about 2–3 minutes.
Remove from heat. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk vigorously until a smooth bubbling paste forms, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the liquid. Keep stirring until you have a thickened sauce. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk. Add in the spinach mixture. Stir to coat. Plate. Top with grated cheese. Serve.