Tuesday, February 22, 2011
pan seared lambchops and scallops, all rosemaried up...
They actually do have real food at the supermarket
Everyone will tell you to get to know your farmers market vendors and to make pals with the guy at the butcher shop; it helps to get the better stuff than the people who just show up to shop, you know? But, do you make friends with the meat cutter at the supermarket? What about the produce guy? You should!
It's not every day that the farmers's market is even open, and it's not always close by. My nearest true butcher shop is 20 minutes away, assuming good traffic. When I need food tonight, I still turn to the supermarket down the street.
Ralphs isn't top of the line specialty food by any stretch of the imagination, but they have enough good stuff that I'm usually good to go. In fact, like many supermarkets, they get a few small portions of lamb, wild caught salmon, and grass fed whatever to keep those people happy, but not enough to have to toss them out every few days when the regular Joe's don't buy them in time. One benefit of stopping in every day or so is catching these food treats before they are gone, and as a bonus, they are sometimes marked down to move them before they go past "that date." Because I'm friendly with the guys at the store, they point out the good stuff and often let me know what's particularly good or a good deal.
Enter tonight's find of lamb chops and scallops.
Neither the lamb chops or the scallops could have been a complete meal for two (.73lbs of bone in meat? 9 scallops?). No wonder they were the last packages of each, marked down 50%, with many days of "sell by" date left on the label! Score for me. Add some fresh rosemary, green onion, and a cast iron skillet and we are good for dinner!
Lamb chops and scallops with rosemary
2 lamb chops
9 scallops (one of them is for testing for doneness)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 green onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp red wine (optional)
black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
If possible, salt the lamb chops and allow them to rest for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. You can add more salt at the table, so don't go crazy. It really helps them to retain some moisture if you allow the salt to do it's duty, but sometimes you have to eat NOW.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the chops! Sprinkle the top of the chops with a bit of the rosemary and allow things to sizzle. Resist the urge to keep turning them, as most steaks, burgers, and chops will fare better with just one episode of turnage. With medium high heat, things go quickly, so three minutes per side should be about right for medium-rare chops.
At three minutes, flip the chops and sprinkle more rosemary on the cooked side, along with a good portion of the green onions and some fresh ground pepper. Allow to cook three minutes for side two. Galya likes her chops cooked longer, so I removed mine (it was the larger one, but shhhh...) and put it on a plate to rest.
With one or more chops out of the pan, you have space for the scallops. Put the scallops in the hot pan and allow them to sizzle. Add the remaining rosemary, green onions, and a sprinkling of sea salt and stir or shake the pan. Scallops cook quickly, so you only need to sear them one or two minutes per side.
When they are done, you have the option of adding a splash or two of red wine to deglaze the pan and giving the scallops one more quick stir! If there's enough liquid, consider drizzling it over the chops, too!
Always let your chops rest for five minutes before cutting into them, for the sake of their juiciness and your enjoyment. That should also make the scallops slightly less than scalding, so win win.
Serve with more salt and pepper, and the wine that you stole one or two tablespoons from, if desired.
For a side dish, go for a simple salad, because life is already complicated enough. Here's ours...
...details coming soon on this delicious salad, but in the meantime just chop some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, more green onions, a colorful bell pepper, add salt, pepper, stir and let it sit for ten to twenty minutes, then eat it.
Final note on the store
If you're not a stickler -- requiring free range apples or triple distilled hydroponic sausage at every meal -- stop by the neighborhood grocery store or supermarket regularly, chat with the guys behind the counters, just enough to not annoy them and be one of "those guys," then move along. Eventually, you might score a 12lb ham for $3 because "We got so many more than we'll EVER sell!" Or at the very least have the in on what's good and what's a good deal that day.