Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seared Scallops and Tiger Prawn Tagliatelle with Creamy Tomatoes

It was early Friday morning when the recently absent sun finally graced us with her shiny appearance after a long hiatus. Content to wear a pair of shorts and light cardigan, I pulled on my boots and drove to Pyrmont, where I was met with the cool salty breeze of Blackwattle Bay, home of the Sydney Fish Markets.

My first port of call was Claudio's Seafood. As soon as I stepped inside the store I encountered a very busy scene indeed. Staff vigorously packed crushed ice around the cleaned fish, the hosed concrete floor squished under my boots, and the constant crunch of loose ice underfoot reminded me of the noise ski boots make on snow.

The variety of produce at Claudio's Seafood is impressive and it is here where I began my search for the ingredients for the seafood lunch I wished to prepare for Byron and myself. We walked in opposite directions to one another to make a complete lap of the store, speaking to staff and watching the skilled workers carefully fillet various cuts of fish from the sea right outside the store windows.

After selecting a few items, we then proceeded to the Waterfront Arcade of the SFM and to Peter's Fish Market for the beautiful produce we purchased for our meal.

To my basket I added fresh scallops, Australian Black Tiger Prawns, finely sliced salmon sashimi, one salmon fillet and one dozen large, freshly shucked Pacific oysters with lemon wedges.

With our fresh produce bagged and folded quickly into neat paper parcels, we made our way back to the car and sat with a view to the water and seagulls hovering in the wind, whilst enjoying the cool, pink sashimi salmon flesh and a salty oyster or two.

When our stomach grumbles quietened down, we drove home and I prepared our dinner.

Seared Scallops and Tiger Prawn Tagliatelle with Creamy Tomatoes

2 Tbs butter
200g fresh scallops
1 clove fresh garlic, diced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tray or 300g vine ripened cherry tomatoes
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, finely diced
1 splash white wine
150-250g fresh back tiger prawns, peeled, deveined
100 ml thick cream
1 small handful of fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Tagliatelle or gluten free spaghetti for 2 generous servings
1 bottle of a delicious, chilled white wine (we enjoyed a Chardonnay)

In a large pan heat 1 Tbs butter over medium heat until foamy, quickly add the scallops to the pan. I place mine down in a circular arrangement in a clockwise direction, as if my pan were a clockface. This method allows you turn the scallops in order, and helps to prevent over-cooking them. Depending on the heat, sear the scallops for 30 seconds to one minute on one side, generally enough time to arrange them in the hot pan and season with salt and pepper, before turning them one by one. I usually cook them for another 30 seconds or so on the reverse side, then remove them from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.

If your butter is brown, please wipe your pan clean, then heat the remaining butter over low- medium heat. Add the garlic, spring onions, chilli, and cherry tomatoes and gently stir the ingredients until slightly soft but still vibrant in colour. Next, turn up the heat (medium-high), add the prawns, taking care not to overcook them. Remove the prawns from the pan and drain with the scallops. Add a small splash of your white wine, slightly reduce the wine, then decrease the heat (low-medium), add the cream and gently heat until slightly thickened.

At this point I usually quickly chop the basil and add it to the sauce with the prawns and the scallops. Stir until the prawns and scallops are heated through, season with salt and pepper to taste, then toss the sauce gently through your tagliatelle and serve imediately with a sprinkle of shaved parmesan. Now I happened to eat gluten free spaghetti and was surprised at how well the San Remo version fared.

Best accompanied with a chilled white wine, we enjoyed our delicious seafood pasta dish with a fresh, yet soft chardonnay. The prawns were plump and tender, the scallops were melt-in-your-mouth balls of delicate sweet flesh, and the sauce gave the tomatoes a buttery flavour, that enhanced the slightly spicy heat from the chilli.

At this point, I wish to thank Becky for requesting a creamy prawn pasta (I know it's very, very late). You were a large part of the inspiration behind this dish.

Mmmm... I'm so pleased we had leftovers!

Bella xx

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