This scallops with asparagus recipe is a simple and elegant dish. It only has a few ingredients, and it’s fast and easy to prepare. Scallops and asparagus make a terrific taste combination, and the white wine butter sauce really brings them together.
Scallops have two shells and are called bivalve mollusks. The muscle that opens and closes the two shells is what is eaten. Buy the best scallops possible from a reputable fishmonger or grocer. Always smell them before handing over the cash. They should bring to mind the ocean. If they smell at all fishy, throw them back and get a new bunch.
Scallops are extremely perishable and should be used within two days of when you buy them. It is best if you buy them the same day you are going to eat them. They need to be stored at 38 F, and if your refrigerator is not that cold you should store them in a plastic container filled with ice to bring down the temperature a bit and keep the chill on.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until it's hot but not smoking.
- Saute the asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate; keep the skillet off the heat (do not clean).
- Pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and salt.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.
- Saute the scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, for 4 to 6 minutes total time. Transfer scallops to another plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
- Add the white wine and white wine vinegar to the skillet and boil, scraping up any browned bits until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add any accumulated scallop juices on the plate and bring to a simmer.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Plate the scallops and asparagus, spoon the sauce over and serve immediately.
With this dish, you already are set with a vegetable. Add basmati rice with cooked seasonal vegetables, polenta or risotto and some fresh sourdough bread and you have yourself a light, nutritious and tasty meal that's dinner-party caliber. Scallops cry out for a crisp white wine. One rule of thumb is that if you used wine for the dish, serve that to drink. If you want an upgrade or are just a rule-breaker, go for a good bottle of chardonnay, Spanish albarino or chablis.