Monday, October 18, 2010

For dinner tonight: saffron infused scallops over a bed of basil pearl pasta with roasted asparagus

I was pleasantly pleased with the outcome of tonight's dinner, as spontaneous as it occurred. However, the cooking process was quite an adventure. 

Around 4:45 p.m., I decided I had better eat something substantial of sorts since I ran quite a bit today. Instinctively, I reach for some sort of pasta. Next came the search for a protein, and taking inventory of which wines I had in the apartment, I decided to try something new with scallops. I knew I wanted to use some basil from my little herb garden before it all dies with the frost, so giving the scallops a little color was my concern. I wasn't exactly sure how I wanted to do this, so I first pull out my grill pan. Then I remembered I picked up some saffron last week I hadn't used in anything yet, and coincidentally, I have never cooked anything with both saffron and scallops in one meal. 

So it was decided. I was going to [try] to grill the scallops after they had been infused with saffron a bit. I'm not completely sure if I didn't use enough olive oil or if I used entirely too much...but the grill pan was a fiasco. I had to toss the first few scallops (sinful, I know!) but they were not edible. Embarrassed as I am to say it, I had the heat way too high for scallops and they cooked extremely fast, on the outside only. I've grilled scallops before, so I know better. I'm not sure which variable I changed. But half the fun of cooking is trying things, ruining things, learning from your mistakes to then make something fantastic, right?

As the pearl pasta is nearing its perfect al dente state, I realize I should also have some fiber. A touch of green makes every plate beautiful. Luckily, I had some asparagus in the veggie drawer. I love roasting asparagus in the oven on a sheet tray with just some olive oil, salt and pepper for 8 minutes on 400 degrees. I often prefer to enjoy vegetables either grilled or roasted with little-to-no seasoning. Salt and pepper with a little olive oil is all you need--if you need oil at all.

When I woke up this morning I didn't plan to have a dinner as such, which is funny. Sometimes you can plan out your day with specific meals and such, and sometimes it will happen and other times it won't. While on other days, you literally won't plan a thing and a dinner will come together beautifully without a special trip to the grocery. Love it.