Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sea Scallops with Cherry Tomatoes

Sea Scallops with Cherry Tomaotes

Tomato season was in full swing when I made this recipe. From my CSA, I was receiving two pints of red and yellow cherry tomatoes on a weekly basis. Tomatoes have many, many uses in cooking. Ask any chef who regularly cooks Italian or French food. One of my favorite ways to use cherry tomatoes is to simply saute them, which is what I did here in this dish with sea scallops.

After dredging the scallops in cornstarch, I cooked them in a saucepan until they were browned on both sides and just cooked through. I then put some minced garlic and 1 pint of cherry tomatoes in the hot pan. With some moderate stirring, over time the tomatoes brown on the outside while simultaneously deflating, releasing their juices into the pan. This savory tomato juice is the base of the sauce, to which I added some chicken broth, basil, salt, and pepper. I didn't overdo the spices in this because I wanted the dish to really focus on the tomatoes and one of their quintessential pairings, basil. Using some cornstarch dissolved in cold water, I thickened the sauce a bit, then added the scallops back in until they were heated through. I plated the saute with some couscous on the side. One problem that I often find with cherry tomatoes is that, when raw, they can gush their sour guts in your mouth as you eat them, which is not that appetizing. But allowing them to caramelize and reduce down in the pan, their flavor became more condensed and less bitter. The scallops, while good, played second fiddle to the tomatoes in this dish, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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